This article was originally published in About Catholic Schools magazine in Term 3 of 2017.

Children at St Joseph the Worker Catholic Primary School in Auburn South have a new favourite place to play after school. Their Outside School Hours Care (OSHC) program, recently founded by Sydney Catholic Early Childhood Services, has made such a splash that even students with stay-at-home parents want to join in the fun.

“One student came up to me and said he was ready to go to after school care – he pretended not to see his mum, who was standing right behind him ready to take him home,” said educator Patricia Nohra.

St Joseph the Worker’s program is the first OSHC service to be run by Sydney Catholic Early Childhood Services, and officially opened this term. Education Officer Franceyn O’Connor said the number of children in attendance is slowly growing as word spreads. She said she hopes the program is the first of many administered by Sydney Catholic Early Childhood Services – several other services are already on track to open in 2018.

“There’s been steady growth in enrolments with many Kindergarten children starting next year at St Joseph’s requesting OSHC,” she said.

The St Joseph’s program, which runs from 3pm to 6pm, has a lovely homely feel. A number of siblings attend together, and ages range from Kindergarten to Year 6. The children’s teacher, Ms Nohra, is with them five days a week.

“Consistency is good for both students and staff, and it’s good that they can have one educator and a regular routine every day,” she said, noting she has become very attached to the students. Ms Nohra tailors activities to the children’s interests – in the case of her current class, Art is a big part of the program.

Several students said Art was their favourite thing about after school care but others mentioned their teachers, playing piano and outdoor games.

“It’s good that they can have one educator and a regular routine every day”

– Franceyn O’Connor

“The teachers are so nice and we get to do fun activities,” commented Charlette Zin-Daniels.

The children’s routine begins with afternoon tea, then homework or an educational activity. They then play outside and finish with an indoor activity before home time.

St Joseph the Worker has recently been given a $30,000 grant by the Federal Government to improve facilities for the children and has plans to expand the program’s current space and add a kitchenette.

The centre hope to have a grand opening in Term 4. The new centre can cater for up to 30 school-aged children, and is located on Renshaw Ave.