“Each child’s agency is promoted, enabling them to make choices and decisions and to influence events and their world.” My Time Our Place, framework for Outside School Hours Care.
So what does this mean for the program in OSHC and for educators that use observations and evaluations as tools? We actively engage with the children on a daily bases to make choices, vote on activities and be responsible for their own actions. Our intentions and practice drive the service programing with the framework Outcomes as goals for the children’s development. We also adapt to our current day for unplanned experiences and children’s suggestions and interests.
We include the children’s decision making in the program all the time. We are supporting the children to make decisions and to create an environment where the children feel safe and supported. For children to reach independence we need to provide them with opportunities to develop the confidence to explore, to ask questions, to express ideas, challenge the rules, to get things right, but also to understand that you can be wrong and learn from mistakes.
Allowing children to make choices for themselves is an important yet relatively easy step towards encouraging independence and agency. When we make materials, displays and resources easily accessible, without the need for adult assistance, we promote children’s ability to successfully take charge of their own learning.
Our environment is set up for children to explore, develop and learn. The children are encouraged each morning to help make and create their own breakfast. All the children are learning to butter their own toast, keep milk in the fridge and pour cereal in a bowl.
Cooking, cleaning and gardening are all examples of experiences that provide opportunities to use real tools or utensils and complete real ‘adult’ work. Children also use a voting system to decide on tasks and activities and are also rewarded for their efforts, as you would be at the end of your paying job.
We also extend children’s learning and their sense of wellbeing. We encourage children to have a sense of agency because promoting the development of independence, alongside interdependence, enables children to become active participants in their own learning as well as active and valued members of a group.
Written By Samantha Hutchins, YMCA Strathpine OSHC Coordinator.
ACECQA (2011). Guide to the National Quality Standard. Luke Touhill- Early childhood consultant and writer.