Three schools in the Diocese of Parramatta are now able to offer parents new Catholic child-care options with the opening of three new Catholic Out of Hours School Care (COHSC) services in the Diocese from January 2021.
Children grow together in God’s family at St Aidan’s, Rooty Hill
Principal of St Aidan’s Primary School at Rooty Hill, Marian Bell, noted many prospective new parents asking about before and after school care when considering school choice. Previously care was available by offsite providers, a less than ideal situation, particularly for young children. She, therefore, jumped at the opportunity to work with Catholic Diocese of Parramatta Services Ltd (CDPSL) to open a brand–new service at the school this year.
St Aidan’s COSHC operates from the light and bright school/church hall, and was blessed by Fr Chris de Souza, Vicar General and Episcopal Vicar for Education and Formation on Tuesday 2 March.
At the blessing, Fr Chris made special mention of how well the children played together and told them, doing things together helps them grow together in God’s family. “We learn about being kind by being together,” he told them.
Chisholm Primary Bligh Park COSHC part of the school team
Likewise, Michael Mifsud, Principal of Chisholm Catholic Primary at Bligh Park, welcomed the proposal by CDPSL to offer childcare on school grounds saying “Out of hours care is high on the agenda for many parents. They can now be confident they can drop their children off at 6.30am if needed, and pick them up at 6.30pm.”
It’s not just the convenience for parents that COSHC offers, but the continuity with the children’s education.
Michael explains, “We keep a constant link with the COSHC staff. They know they are part of our team.
“We also know that parents are keen to see our Catholic values continued with care before and after school.”
Fr Chris blessed Chisholm Primary COSHC on Wednesday 10 March, commenting on how well the school community worked together with CDPSL to set up the centre. Remarking on the team of educators and other staff who were in attendance he said, “Having the team here today tells us about the strength behind this service.”
St John’s Riverstone COSCH serving needs of growing population
Down the road from Chisholm Primary, Bishop Vincent Long OFM Conv, Bishop of Parramatta, blessed the new out of school hours care service at St John’s Primary, Riverstone, on Thursday 11 March, a service which CDPSL says is growing faster than all others in the Diocese.
COSHC Service Coordinator Sarah Osei said that the school community had been supportive of the service from day one. Watching the children “strive to achieve,” the school’s motto, gives her a sense of purpose in her role.
“It’s important that every child in my care knows that they are valued, respected, and will have the autonomy to become who they want to be.
“Our school motto is something that we incorporate into our sessions daily, no matter how hard or difficult a task may be. I believe that this is a value that they can take with them throughout their lives.
“The children and the families have been amazing and I’ve enjoyed getting to know each and every one of them.
“I feel lucky to be part of such a close-knit community,” she said.
St Aidan’s, St John’s and Chisholm Catholic Primary are three of the 32 COSHC Centres now operated by CDPSL for students of Catholic schools in the Diocese. As well as before and after school care, COSHC offers vacation care at the colourfully–decorated, activity-filled centre locations.
At the St Aidan’s blessing, the children were asked “Who loves COSHC?” With 100% of children putting up their hands, it appeared the centre’s first term has been a success.
Vacation Care for the April holidays is offered across the Diocese including Chisholm Catholic Primary. With a range of fun activities to keep children occupied and happy during the holidays, most centres still have vacancies. Contact your local centre or see the contact details below.
To find out more about before and after school care or vacation care at any of the COSHC centres in the Diocese of Parramatta, go to cdpsl.org.au.