How has your programming changed

By: Oscn  05-Apr-2012

More expected by parents

Our programme has changed because we have more children than we did five years ago, also increased staff numbers to cover this.  We have a morning programme whereas five years ago we didn't.  Each year our programming changes because each year our age group of children changes.   Children's needs have changed, we have larger numbers of children with special needs, dietary requirements, sporting activities and they seem to expect much more.

Parents expectations have changed  e.g.  they expect us to check children school bags each day to see if they have all their belongings (even though there are many children we do not have in the mornings so have no idea of what they took to school). Some parents expect us to check lunch boxes to see if
children ate their lunches.  Others ask that we have their children dressed and ready for them on sport days so parent can just pick up and run.  Others want us to be go-betweens for their school teachers and themselves to pass messages run errands etc. 

Other factors are that we are more careful with planning afternoon teas, crafts etc.  and more careful about what training we book into. Costs have increased over the past years and fees never keep up with these increases.  We try to incorporate a lot more outdoor activities for our children, and lots of easier quicker crafts that they can finish in one afternoon, as many of our children only come one or two days a week, whereas in earlier years most children came 5 afternoons so we could plan longer more in-depth craft and activities. Some of the challenges we face now are higher staff numbers which in turn increases other challenges like inter staff relationships, trying to keep everyone happy and focused on their jobs.  Mornings are a new challenge with staff -  if staff are sick it is harder to get replacements at 6.00am in the morning. (LOL it is always me).  

Julie Adams, Green Bay Kids Own

Children have always thrived on good adult contact

Parents want to see a bang for their buck. Great but social skills are learnt through play and parents don’t always see that happening. I find more and more want to see the children bring something home with them. So instead of eating the muffin they made, we let them take it home now. Yes they can all play card games or ball games at home but do they? No not usually, they usually plug into something and a lot of parents don’t recognise the importance of this type of play.

OMG homework. To me homework is something the child should be able to do by themselves with the aid of books etc. (excluding readers for littlies). We have one person on HW three days a week, mainly for readers and helping a little - not sitting there telling them the answers or ordering them to do their homework. We have a reward based homework plan, if you do your homework at ASC 5 weeks in a row then you get to choose out of the reward box (has lollies, and goodies that the children want).Some parents think we should be checking their books when they say they have no HW. I am not their parent and therefore am not checking every day.

I meet the child with the parent, tell them they are responsible for their HW and it must be done at ASC as this is what parent wants and why. Let them know about the reward system and how it works. If you are found to still not have done your HW then your parents will put in place a punishment that they see fit. I am not punishing children for their parents. I work on a reward basis. It seems to be working with most that need to do it at ASC.

I wouldn't say children’s needs have changed, they have always thrived on good adult human contact, age appropriate equipment and stimulation. Can’t see this changing ever. One new very large challenge that I feel will be impossible to overcome, is if we don’t get the MSD funding. It will be at this point that I will probably get out of this line of work. I love working with children and helping their parent while they work but we all need to earn a living. 

Carol Plewinski, Kids K'Nection

I'm lucky..

Hmm, that has got me thinking. Frankly, I don’t think my programme has changed much in the past 15 years, let alone 5. I'm lucky - supportive school, great facilities and they enlarged my room 2 years ago, long time staff members, great kids. What maybe should have changed I haven’t. I could have become more hard-nosed, increased prices or cut costs more, but I don’t have to account to anyone else so I'm still not making as much money as I could.  

Kid’s needs haven't changed. Fads come and go, toys change, the odd child will be a challenge, but they still need the same stuff - safety, security, fun, firm boundaries, help with their homework, a creative outlet, freedom for free play. We still have a similar demographic in the Torbay area with a large population of South African families, and as long as that continues, I doubt much will change for me.

Parents still expect the same - all the above really. I think we deliver an excellent programme, the kids enjoy coming to us, the parents are all happy, we have a good reputation. The only problem/challenge I have is that I have such a long waitlist that some kids are on the waitlist for a year before I can take them.  

Kathy McCormack, Glamorgan Kids Club

Open all hours

Things have certainly changed. I have noticed a huge influx of paper work. Parents booking in months even a year in advance of their child starting, worried they won't get a space. Brochures need to look more professional from 5 years ago, gone are the write one up and print it out. You have to make sure you have checked and rechecked all details. You have to have RAM reports to breath. I never get to be in the program anymore for long. I have too much accountability paper work to complete.

Children's needs have stayed the same in regards to activities and crafts however an increase in demand for homework on line from year 4 up to year 8. We have to be firm on the homework stance that we will oversee homework but are not responsible for the finished work. Parents must sign off for the teacher so they have seen it.

My biggest challenges are training staff to perform at expected levels getting in all the areas of knowledge gleaned over the years. Huge growth spurt in attendance figures and staff leaving saw 5 new staff arrive over a few weeks. We did not have 85 kids in an afternoon and 45 on mornings 5 years ago. Now we have 20 staff. Pay roll is an ongoing event, finish one start another. Staff applying are all University students currently and are working here for the full length of their degree which is giving a stable work force and great role models for the children. Older staff are consistent and create a grandparent atmosphere. 

Christine Allaker, Sherwood Primary BASC


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