OSHC – 5 benefits for children who attend out of school hours care

When children attend an OSHC service, they gain more than just exceptional care and supervision. Educators ensure children have a safe, stimulating and inclusive environment where their physical, social, emotional and educational needs can be met. They have opportunities to participate in activities that support their growth and development in respectful and culturally responsive ways. 

Here are five benefits children gain from attending an OSHC service:

Playful learning 

Play and learning go hand in hand, and OSHC services provide opportunities for children to explore and learn in fun and developmentally appropriate ways. Play supports children to steer their learning as they engage in activities they find interesting and engaging. Furthermore, through play, children develop social skills, confidence, creativity, independence and a sense of their place in the world.


Social skills 

When children have time and space to play and explore, this opens up opportunities for them to engage with other children for extended periods. They practice a range of skills that have lifelong implications for their relationships. They develop self-confidence, empathy, an understanding of friendships, communication skills, negotiation skills, listening skills, self-regulation, and the ability to establish positive relationships with others. In addition to this, OSHC services have a diverse age range of children. This diversity means that the peer group will have children, both older and younger, who engage and build relationships with each other. Cross-age “peer tutoring” helps older children develop a sense of responsibility and empathy, and they often take on leadership roles in these situations. And younger children benefit from time spent with older children who are happy to share their skills and knowledge.

Growth and development

After spending the day in a classroom where children receive specific directions as to how they spend their day, having space to steer the direction of their time has some fantastic benefits for children. They develop self-management skills, independence, awareness of their needs, self-regulation, confidence, autonomy and a sense of self that helps them build their own identity and belief in themselves. 

A sense of belonging and being part of a community

Children thrive when they feel part of a community, and although an OSHC community has parallels to the community that exists inside the classroom, there are differences. With a broader age range of children from different schools in an OSHC community, children will have opportunities to develop relationships with a more diverse group of peers. 

A broad range of learning experiences

OSHC educators bring a wide range of skills, passions, life experiences, interests and strengths. These skills are incredible assets as educators share them with the children they teach. Children can participate in activities that may not be available at home or school. Activities may include gardening and growing food, cooking, crafts, team sports and interest-based projects. When children can choose to participate in activities that interest them, their learning is practical and meaningful. A recipe for success!

Celebrating and raising the profile of the valuable learning experiences available to children at OSHC services is essential if we are to encourage participation, particularly for vulnerable children. Because, after all, we want to help maximise their potential and develop a foundation for future success in life. 



Want to hear how Storypark can help your outside of school hours service build stronger connections with families, streamline your processes, and improve NQS ratings?

Posted by Sonya McIntyre

Sonya was born in Lower Hutt and went to Rata Street Kindergarten and Petone Kindergarten. A qualified ECE, she studied at Victoria University in Wellington and has worked with home-based educators, in community-based childcare and in kindergarten. With childhood memories of reading books and writing stories, combined with her passion for all things social media, Sonya segued into her role with us at Storypark as social media manager.

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