How much documenting for OSHC?
We are sometimes asked how much documentation an OSHC (out-of-school-hours-care) service needs on each child. There is no prescribed amount, and there certainly doesn’t need to be a certain amount for each child.
After a full day at school some children may just want a snack, time to relax and play ball games with their usual friends. If they're new, they may watch what happens for a little while before becoming involved. But children come to OSHC and vacation care services with different strengths, needs and interests—and educators should be looking to develop and explore these.
It is reasonable to expect that service educators will try to address each child’s particular needs and interests, and that children will be encouraged to say what these are.
Documentation serves a number of purposes. It can:
- record children’s views and preferences
- provide families with information about their child’s time at the service.
- help guide educators on how to set up the service or program activities in the future.
One intention behind documenting is so that no child is overlooked and all children are included in the program successfully. Some children will require greater planning and documentation than others. A child who experiences difficulty with social and/or emotional skills may need more detailed documentation than a child who is always engaged in activities and has a wide circle of friends. It is also understandable that children who attend the service on a regular basis will require greater planning and documentation than a child who attends occasionally, or for a short time.
It is important for services to consider how every single child is getting their needs and interests met. In doing this, educators will have gathered information about each of the children. How is this information then used to inform the program? What routines and procedures work or don’t work? What activities can be planned? What resources can be acquired? What information or development might the educators need?
Documentation is not a goal in itself. Services need to record enough to be sure all children can be planned for, taking into account their changing interests and abilities.
Just record what’s useful.
After school at OSHC, some of the older children mill about waiting for the door to open so they can go outside to play. Eight-year-old Max loves playing with the car tracks, which are located in an area near the door. One or two educators notice Max getting quite agitated as the other children are infringing on his space. Personal space is very important to Max. They make a note of these observations and, after a discussion among the educators, decide to rearrange the layout at the back of the room. The car tracks area is swapped with something Max isn't interested in. All is calm again. At the next staff meeting, all staff are informed why this occurred and asked to monitor and support Max, as he can get agitated and aggressive if people invade what he sees as his personal space. The meeting is minuted and sent to educators who couldn’t attend the meeting.