It’s that time of the year again when parents are looking for after-school care activities and programs that will keep their children occupied after school while they are away from home. But what is the reality for parents when it comes to the program offering of child care centres? Are they able to live up to the expectations that they have set for their children?
Research conducted into out-of-school care by Macquarie University in Australia found that parents were very demanding when it came to their child’s activities. The research highlighted some of the challenges that faced parents who are looking for an after-school program for their children. These challenges included the lack of time for planning and implementation of meaningful activities, conflicting expectations and a mismatch between parental requirements and provider capabilities.
However, the childcare provider that was surveyed had a very different view of the situation. They felt that the parents had unrealistic expectations and did not understand the work that went into running a successful program for children. As a result, the providers often felt that they were struggling to meet the high expectations that the parents had for the program.
When looking at the after-school care activities that were being provided for children, it was found that many parents were looking for more traditional activities like homework assistance and reading time. However, childcare providers felt that these activities were not relevant to children and recommended that they should be replaced with more interactive and entertaining activities. Parents also expressed disappointment when they were informed that the children’s snack that was provided as part of the program was for recreational purposes only and not nutritional. The parent’s view was that the snack provided needed to be healthy in order to keep their children properly nourished while at after-school care.
Out-of-school care activities are widely available across most Australian states and territories. These services provide a safe and enjoyable environment for children where they are able to develop friendships and have fun.