Forrest Primary School P&C runs an extremely successful out-of-school-hours care business which provides a substantial financial donation to the school each year. In 2014 our P&C, in a partnership with Forrest Primary School, built 2 large playgrounds using business profits. We also financially supported other school strategic projects such as refurbishing the toilet amenities. This is on top of our P&C's other commitments from organising community events to running the canteen and uniform shop.
Our P&C relies on the support and partnership of the Forrest Primary Principal and school to run the out-of-school-hours care service. Approximately one third of the school's children attend or participate in the program, and we believe the service is essential for the Forrest school community and is an important reason why parents choose Forrest Primary School for their children. The out-of-school-hours care service could not be as successful without its extremely caring and dedicated staff. Many of the staff attended Forrest Primary school themselves and some have been working for the P&C for over 10 years. The staff are the heart and soul of the service and everything the P&C does to support the school is underpinned by the efforts of these professionals.
One of the reasons the service is so popular is due to the excellent and varied activities program. The usual structured and directed activities are offered such as martial arts, language and music; however we are seeing an overwhelming popularity for activities which are flexible and child driven such as the Beyond the Fence program. This activity allows children to have control over their play time and their play space, and provides them with a sense of ownership. They are fully submerged in every aspect of their play from planning what they want to achieve, to design and implementation, to finally review what they have achieved, what worked and what didn't. In the children's words they are having FUN and they want to keep coming back time after time (see more about Beyond the Fence below.)
The Forrest out-of-school-hours care business will continue to be such an amazing success by continuing to grow our strong relationship with Forrest Primary School, encouraging and supporting the amazing staff, and continuing to offer a varied and diverse activity program that puts the child and their family at the forefront of the experience. We are lucky to have a wonderful school and community that supports our growing business which in turn supports every child who attends our Primary School.
Beyond the Fence by FOOSHC Educational Leader Kylie Keane
Beyond The Fence™ is an innovative program that is currently operating at Forrest Out Of School Hours Care (FOOSHC) by the service's Educational Leader Kylie Keane and advocate and consultant for children Lisa Beattie. The program came about through discussions between themselves surrounding the play opportunities they remembered fondly as children that they identified as being few and far between for children in today's busy world. Kylie and Lisa both valued the opportunities for children to go outdoors, reconnect with nature, take risks, make choices for themselves, play and simply be, and recognised the importance of providing these opportunities within an out of school hours care service.
Beyond The Fence™ started in 2014 as a pilot Transforming Practice Initiative under the ACT Professional Support Co-ordinator and saw 30 children go Beyond The Fence™ to the natural space adjacent to the primary school one afternoon a week. The program flourished and by the end of 2014, officially out of its pilot stage, approximately 70 children had taken part and it was operating 3 afternoons a week. The best thing however was the fact that the children themselves had shifted the original ideas and philosophy of the program. The children have, over the last year, built forts, dens and tree houses, climbed trees, excavated their 'creek', built and cooked on fire pits, engaged in leadership and team based roles as well as enjoyed the solitude of the open outdoors. They have explored, experimented, hypothesised, taken risks and developedresilience, problem solving and self-regulation skills. They have challenged themselves, each other and the educators in the most rewarding of ways and pushed the limits of their former comfort zones all the while forming deep attachments to the space. Beyond The Fence™ truly values children as capable and competent individuals.