Upskilling for new opportunities in School Age Education and Care

Thursday, March 17, 2022

Working with school aged children to help them reach their full potential is an education career that can be incredibly fulfilling. School Age Education and Care (SAEC) or Outside School Hours Care (OSHC) are career opportunities that enable you to guide and nurture children through their school years in a setting outside of their school classroom.

When initially looking at career options, Practical Outcomes graduate Kim Rose was interested in becoming a teacher’s aid. It was during her studies aiming for this outcome that Kim was lead to working in an after-school hours care setting. An exciting chance to take on her current role came up, and to take it and thrive Kim completed a Diploma of School Age Education and Care.

“Training with Practical Outcomes was fantastic. My trainer was so supportive. I lost my mum while I was studying but I was able to take a break from my course due to mental health struggles, but my trainer checked in and made sure I had the support I needed.”

When the time was right, Kim continued her studies and for her, the Diploma qualification gave her practical tools and skills to take into the workplace. From handling behavioural challenges to ensuring her reporting is being done correctly, the coursework was relevant and informative, she explained.

Learner experience: Working and studying in school age education

A rewarding career where every day is different

Unlike some jobs that can be the same each day or spent sitting at a desk, undertaking a position in SAEC is varied and enjoyable. Every day getting ready for work Kim says she feels so good knowing that she is going to go in and have a day full of laughter and fun.

“It’s not like school. It’s where children can come to have fun after school and focus on their interests. We aim to focus on things the children prefer, incorporating their interests into our weekly planning.”

Kim explained that the rewards both to the child and the educator can be immense in a SAEC role:

“I have had a child in my care who had trouble making friendships. Through identifying his challenges and offering encouragement in the right direction and praise he now has a wonderful friendship group — his mum just can’t believe how far he has come.”

Effective communication to make a genuine difference

Kim often draws from her own life experience to support the children in her care, even sharing in grief with children who have sadly lost a parent. Communicating effectively with children is a skill that Kim believes is crucial in SAEC.

“Listening is so important. Some feel they aren’t listened to at school, so when they come to us we want them to know we are here to listen”, she says.

Kim is definitely passionate about her work, but what is it that makes a career as a School Aged Educator so awesome?

“I just love seeing them grow and being able to develop a relationship with these kids. When they go off to high school they sometimes come back and visit which is so beautiful. Suddenly they’re all taller than me!”

For anyone considering a career in school age education or OSHC, Kim recommends communication skills as a key area to focus on developing to succeed. Knowing how to communicate with children and talking to them on their level, explaining and listening and building relationships — that will make your role easier and much more rewarding.

Upskilling can be a daunting thought. You might have thought you were done with studying but have realised that a new qualification could open doors in your career. However, Kim suggests just going for it:

“The training with Practical Outcomes is flexible, you can do it at your own pace and if you stick to it, it will be worth it in the end.”


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