Leading the OSHC Program

One of the greatest highlights of my role has been the ability to see the fruitful beginnings that our Loose Parts program has had here at Genesis Outside School Hours Care.

Beginning my journey in 2018, and upon taking leadership of OSHC, I was able to share my vision and set out to create and form foundations for early learning within our program. Our vision here at OSHC is to provide opportunities for our students to acquire life skills, such as planning, design and construction. A vast amount of the most up to date research and knowledge were embedded into the professional development of our team leading up to the introduction of our Loose Parts program. This allowed our team to investigate and understand the practical considerations when creating play opportunities with children.

Toward the end of 2018, I began to explore the potential of Loose Parts collections for play resources at our centre. My aim was to increase the engagement in and the enjoyment of learning through play. From our observations of children interacting in these spaces offered, we were able to witness a more focused approach to the program, particularly suited to our integrated multi-age play at OSHC. Children were seen to be enjoying the outdoors and began to look forward to these play experiences.

Understanding and advocating for all children having the right to play, our outdoor play and Loose Parts play became an integral part of our overall approach to learning through play. With the introduction of Loose Parts, it became necessary to relate risk with play and develop our risk-benefit assessment. From our observations of children within these environments, it became apparent that children were generally very responsible, careful, and competent. We noted how children became aware of the responsibilities they had been given and how the children began to learn about risk, within a managed environment. Children were seen to build physical and social skills and produce a piece of work which is inhabitable, autonomous and of their own making.

In 2020, we saw our Loose Parts program partner with the Primary faculty and Curriculum-based lessons, with outdoor Loose Parts being implemented with weekly sessions for our Prep and Year 1 students. Our OSHC team facilitated this with our Prep and Year 1 teachers. Having play session within class time allows children and teachers to reflect on the learning that has occurred and document it accordingly. Children are able to make connections between numeracy concepts and the Loose Parts as well as increase their interest to formal learning when embedding Loose Parts within a formal curriculum context.

It has been evident through my time here at OSHC that Loose Parts create a richer environment for children, allowing them to do what they need to do, to follow their interests and go where their curiosity takes them.

In any environment, both the degree of inventiveness and creativity, and the possibility of discovery, are directly proportional to the number and kind of variables in it.” (Nicholson, S. 1971:30-34)

Kind regards,

Susan Cooper

Director – OSHC