Ambrose Out of School Hours Care benefits from diverse community connections

Collaborative partnerships between Ambrose Out of School Hours Care, families, the local school and wider community create a supportive and inclusive environment for all children.

Located on Dharug Country, the staff at Ambrose Out of School Hours Care work in collaboration with their families, the St Paul the Apostle Primary School community, as well as the wider community to create a quality and supportive environment for all children.

Ambrose coordinator at St Paul the Apostle OSHC, Kirsten Burns, said collaboration with families and children is embedded into both their program and the running of the service.

“Here at St Paul, we believe that community starts with us. We take the time to get to know the families that share their lives with us,” Kirsten said.

“We get to know the school community and build connections with teachers, school staff and parents and through these connections we have built a wider network within the greater Winston Hills community.

“Educators communicate with families when they are dropping off or collecting their children in a positive and friendly manner which helps to foster positive relationships.”

The service also works in collaboration with their KU Inclusion Professional to help guide them with strategies to ensure all children are actively participating and included in the service.

“We also work alongside the school and use the Positive Behaviour Support for Learning (PBS4L) which is used across both Catholic Diocese of Parramatta schools and OSHC services to ensure that there is a seamless and consistent approach in supporting children’s behaviour in both settings.”

“The school staff and Ambrose educators have established an open line of communication where we often discuss ways to assist children and learn from one another,” she said.

Kirsten said the service has learned a lot from their remote engagement with families when they were impacted during the COVID-19 restrictions.

“Like many parts of the state, the St Paul the Apostle community was heavily affected by COVID, but our service remained open to offer support to families who required care for their children.”

“During this time, we missed many of our families who couldn’t attend, however we continued our communication with them by sending weekly newsletters, emails, day books through the Xplor app as well as home activity packs.

“These activity packs were collaboratively created with the prompt from a family who had a young child that missed all the arts and craft activities we program for the children to engage in.

“Families expressed how helpful these activities were for their children to have as it offered them engaging and productive ways to keep busy during lockdown.

“While the COVID lockdown was a challenging time for families and educators it allowed the service to self-reflect and improve on many areas,” she said.

Kirsten shared that the service also engages with the local First Nations community to support cultural inclusivity and recently worked with an Elder from Gunawirra to update the service’s Acknowledgement of Country.

“It’s so important our service’s Acknowledgement of Country, which is said during daily group sessions, is respectful of the First Nations community and their culture.

“Working with an Elder has been educational for both staff and children,” she said.

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