While early childhood education careers are well-known and often discussed, school age education and care is another rewarding and enjoyable career path available to those who are keen to work with children.
Caring for children aged around 5 to 12 years, a role in school age education and care (SAEC) revolves around providing support and education through play, creative art experiences and promoting physical activity.
School age education and care is provided to children across a variety of settings. Those qualified to work in SAEC may support children in school holiday programs and outside school hours care (OSHC) programs, such as before school care and after school care.
With school age children often effective communicators and well on their way to developing a sense of independence, the relationships you can build with the children in your care are meaningful and can have a notable impact on a child’s life, education and wellbeing. If you’re someone who seeks to make a difference, a school age education career could be right for you.
A positive impact on school age children
School age education is suited to individuals who may possess some of these qualities or interests:
- Wants to educate children through play
- A good listener
- Passionate about making a difference for others
- Wants to work with families and the local community
- Interested in working in the education sector
- Wants to build quality relationships with children
- Keen to get creative in the arts
- Enjoys playing sports, such as footy or downball
Keira Graham is the lead trainer in the Diploma of School Age Care and Education at Practical Outcomes, and has spent many years working in the sector. Her own experience in school age education has been a very positive one, with many moments of immense professional and personal satisfaction.
“This is a career where you can really see the impact you’re having. My biggest memory was of a 6-year-old girl who was new to the service and was unable to recognise her own name. She was to start at school in four months – we worked together through play and interaction, and by the end of the second week not only could she recognise her name, she could also spell it.”
Opportunities and pathways in school age education and care
A Diploma in School Age Education and Care can open up a number of employment opportunities, such as:
- Outside school hours care coordinator
- Outside school hours care educator
- Program leader
- Service manager
- Team leader
- Vacation care coordinator
- Teacher’s aide in a school
While the pathway from a Diploma of School Age Education and Care to a Bachelor of Education is not commonly highlighted, Keira is confident in the view that this qualification is a relevant and logical step for anyone who is interested in pursuing a school teaching career at some point along their career journey.
“You could work as a teacher’s aide in a school with your Diploma, plus through working in SAEC and OSHC you gain skills that will absolutely help you thrive in your Bachelor’s degree down the track”, explains Keira.
Looking to benefits while working in the sector, outside school hours care has the unique benefit of offering its workforce split shifts from before school care and after school care. In Keira’s experience and observation, this presents a great opportunity to study while you are working, utilising the middle part of the day. Alternatively, if further study is not a priority, these hours are also suited to those who want to have the middle of the day for optimal work life balance.
Supported training for success
A supported training experience is vital to learner success and satisfaction, which is why Practical Outcomes learners get ongoing support from their dedicated trainer. Phone calls, emails, video calls and, when possible, face-to-face sessions give learners peace of mind and confidence throughout their course.
“I love being able to see my learners grow – from where they began at the start of the course to see them flourish by the time they have reached the end. To have a great working relationship and knowing that I contributed to that learner in reaching their goals is very satisfying”, says Keira.
The combination of soft skills, practical learning experiences and workforce insights ensures Practical Outcomes and our trainers can provide industry-leading training to those who study school age education.
Our trainers approach their role with learners as a partnership, and continually remind themselves to think about how they would want to be supported as a learner.
As with many career paths, your journey to a SAEC career may not be direct. For Keira, midwifery was the plan long-term, however as soon as she moved into her role in after school care, she knew she had found what she wanted to do with her career.
“I can tell you I never really felt like I was ‘working’. The interaction with the children, the conversations, the many creative arts and crafts that were made I still have to this day. Every day was different yet very rewarding”.
Learners at Practical Outcomes are trained to be the best they can be, to thrive in Outside School Hours Care settings. Keira highlighted some of the top skills required to find success in OSHC and working with school age children:
- Educators who can understand and meet children’s needs (age appropriate development)
- Can have fun and be in the moment
- Open to a challenge
- Have time management skills
- Have good communication skills – for children and parents
- Team player
- Able to think on your feet and make decisions
School age education for a truly rewarding career
For anyone considering a career in school age education and care, Keira offers this advice:
“You will have an opportunity to influence and have an impact on our next generation. We are not ‘babysitting or minding’ children – completing your diploma will give you the knowledge and understanding of school aged children’s development. This is a rewarding job that will challenge you in ways and build your own resilience as an adult. You will walk away with amazing stories and laughter about the things children will say and do. You can make a real difference.”
To learn more about the Diploma of School Age Education and Care, contact us at today!