Learning Experiences Outside the Classroom

Out-of-school care a growth industry

External CareTimes have certainly changed since the days when most mothers stayed at home to look after their young children. These days, simple economics mean most have few alternatives but to continue in employment.

The cost of housing has risen astronomically in the major cities, the man’s employment in a relationship may well be less stable than in earlier years, while a rise in solo parent families means good after-school care is essential for adults who need to work or study. Back-up support from grandparents or other family members is less common than it used to be, and particularly for recent immigrants who now compose a significant proportion of New Zealand’s population, unlikely to be there at all.

But professional care poses a number of questions. Safety for the child is the first that most parents will think of, while expense is another that may well be significant. And in today’s competitive environment, time-pressed parents want to make sure that their children in care are not simply wasting their time or merely sitting supine in front of a play station or TV.

Homework support will be a critical factor. While most parents would like to be able to sit down and read with their child in the evening, by the time they reach home after battling the traffic and cooking dinner, the likelihood is that everyone will be too tired.

• Like virtually anything, good care comes at a cost, but OSCAR (Out of school care) subsidies may be available for those who:

• are the main carer of a dependent child

• don’t have a partner who can provide childcare

• are a New Zealand citizen or permanent resident.

It also depends on how much the carer and their spouse or partner earn. The child or young person must be:

• aged five to 13 years old

• attending an approved OSCAR programme for three or more hours a week.

The child should also normally live in New Zealand. This information is a guide only and parents or guardians should talk to WINZ about their individual circumstances.

Camps at Lakes Ranch For schools looking for a venue for their next school camp or out of town base, Rotorua’s Lakes Ranch offers a wonderful setting with everything needed for a fun and active stay on the beautiful 127 acre property.

Every school holidays, Lakes Ranch holds three residential holiday camps. The first week is Horse Camp for ages 12 and above, and during the middle weekend, Junior Horse Camp for children aged seven-11. In the second week, Lakes Ranch runs Kids Camp for ages nine-12, with a leadership training programme for those 13 years and up.

Alternatively, school groups can base themselves at the ranch while visiting some of the many tourist attractions available close by. An experienced hosting team will work with the school to ensure the camp runs as smoothly as possible, and will be on hand to assist wherever necessary.

The on-site facilities eliminate the need for travel elsewhere, with a range of activities available including abseiling, horse riding, tennis, archery, volley ball, Tough Guy Challenge, slug guns, kayaking and other water sports, through to the simple pleasure of relaxing on a large hammock. There are thermally heated and cold water swimming pools.

“The kids gain confidence and make new friends,” said children’s camp director, Shelley Gapes. “Safety is paramount and briefings are given to all supervisors before commencing activity times. We provide our own qualified instructors for activities where specialist skills are required.”

Shelley emphasises that Lakes Ranch is also a non-denominational Christian camp and the holiday programmes teach virtues and values that go along with what the schools teach.

Wide variety at Bizzy Bodz Bizzy Bodz Holiday Care Ltd is an Auckland based business offering quality school holiday programmes and before & after school care programmes in a fun, safe, caring and organised environment and in often convenient locations.

It caters for children from aged five to 13 years old, and offers a wide variety of interesting activities each holiday. Director Jo Adamson says these activities include two off-site trips per week to local attractions such as movies, swimming, ice skating, beaches, parks, horse riding and rock climbing.

“We also invite guests in to keep everyone entertained and busy such as: travelling farmyards, ceramics tutors, clowns, balloon artists, artists, bead makers, as well as loads of awesome, fun in-house activities. These range from drama, art and craft, to board games, quizzes, cooking, baking, sports, games and loads more. And we are a TV free zone.”

All staff are police checked and hold a current first aid certificate. Bizzy Bodz operates to guidelines as set out by the Out of School Care & Recreation (OSCAR) Network and Child Youth and Family (CYF). Work and Income subsidies may be available on application.

School News

School News is not affiliated with any government agency, body or political party. We are an independently owned, family-operated magazine.
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