Here’s what to look for in an aftercare facility for your child.
Unlike primary and high schools, after-school care is not regulated, allowing anyone to open up an aftercare centre as a business. This can often result in an unstructured, unsafe, and unhappy environment for your child, says Janine
Hammond, regional managing director of Sherpa Kids for the Western Cape. Sherpa Kids is an international programme that provides before school, aftercare, and holiday care services. She shares her insight into what parents need to ask about their children’s after-school care programme.
1. Supervised homework
A good aftercare programme should not only be for babysitting or entertaining your child while they wait for you to
pick them up, it should also help your child with completing their homework, and supervising study time for their tests.
2. Are children actively engaged and stimulated?
Aftercare should focus on the holistic development of the child, including engaging and stimulating activities such as
arts and crafts, sports, and other theme-based activities, which are age and stage appropriate.
3. Are staff members trained in first aid?
International best practice requires at least one staff member trained in first aid to be on site at all times, says Janine.
It’s also imperative that staff members are trained in paediatric first aid, rather than a general first aid course. Also, first aid qualifications expire after two years, so you need to ask whether their paediatric first aid training is up to date.
4. Qualifications of staff members
International best practice for aftercare requires a staff-to-child ratio of between 1 to 10 and 1 to 15. ‘Qualified graduates and retired childcare professionals make the ideal after-school care providers because they’re usually passionate about childcare and engaging with children in a positive way,’ Janine advises.
5. Is there a structure to the afternoon?
The afternoon needs to start with a formal roll call system so that all the children can be accounted for. This will
be followed by lunch and then homework supervision. The duration of homework supervision needs to be flexible,
depending on the age and stage of the child. There also needs to be time for structured activities and free play, says Janine.
COMPILED BY NOLWAZI DHLAMINI PHOTOS: FOTOLIA.COM