At Eastwood Heights OOSH we provide a flexible and reliable service that serves the diverse needs of our local school community. Our systems, procedures and structures are flexible, adaptable and open to criticism and change. Our work is evidence-based, built on contemporary theory and driven by a constant process of critical reflection and self-assessment. It is guided by the principles of the NQF including the learning framework ‘My Time Our Place’. Our educators are professionals, guided by playwork theory and emotion coaching.
Above all, we promote the right of children to have time deeply engaged in play for play’s sake. We maximise opportunities for children to engage in free play – a set of behaviours that are ‘freely chosen, personally directed and intrinsically motivated’. It involves taking calculated risks and exploring one’s boundaries. It is essential to and necessary for children’s wellbeing, healthy development, and deep learning. It allows children to imagine, explore, experiment, create and dream. Loose parts, undefined spaces and natural environments teach children to think critically and feel more connected to the people and world around them.
Empathy is a choice to try and see the world through someone else’s eyes and engage vulnerably with their perspective. We believe empathy builds healthy relationships, assists in resolving interpersonal conflict and builds communities of mutual respect. It drives our interactions with children, staff, families, and the local community, and supports trusting and transparent relationships. It is the basis for discussing cultural perspectives freely and openly, as well as embedding them in everyday practice. It helps us actively listen, affirm and celebrate different ways of seeing and thinking about the world. Empathy is core to our work empowering and amplifying children’s voices so they can make meaningful decisions about their time at the service. We are passionate advocates for children’s rights.
Care is actively working to address the needs of others to the best of one’s ability. It is the bedrock of all inclusive communities. Children and their families have unique circumstances, perspectives and needs and our care reflects that by being equitable, individualised and holistic. We have a particular focus on the wellbeing and mental health of our children, staff and broader community. A way we learn to care is by spending time in nature. We begin to see ourselves as a key part of the local ecosystem, not separate from it. Understanding the interdependence of plants, animals, people and the land teaches us to act in the best interests of future generations and care for the world that sustains us.
Wilson, Penny. The Playwork Primer. College Park, MD: Alliance for Childhood, 2010. p. 5.