Highlights of programs and news events from Early Years Education & Care, as featured in the Summer 2020/21 Edition of the Catholic Outlook Magazine.
Expanding our network of School Age Care Services
Ready for Term 1 next year, we are opening five new Catholic Out of School Hours Care (COSHC) services under the new agency Catholic Diocese of Parramatta Services Limited (CDPSL):
- St Mary’s Primary, Rydalmere
- St Michael’s Primary, Baulkham Hills
- St Aidan’s Primary, Rooty Hill
- St John’s Primary, Riverstone
- Chisholm Catholic Primary, Bligh Park.
There are now 32 COSHC services in the Diocese of Parramatta, up from 25 just 12 months ago – an exciting extension of the outreach works of the Diocese to the broader community.
17 services will also provide vacation care in January 2021, almost double the number from last year. They will also provide care on pupil-free days when needed.
We also have Catholic Early Learning Centres (CELC) for children aged 3 to 5 years:
- Pre-schools at Emerton, Blacktown South, Greystanes and Stanhope Gardens
- Extended Hours Pre-school/Long Day Care at St Luke’s Marsden Park.
All services meet or exceed the National Quality Standards.
Our educators complement what happens at school and equip the children with some of the social skills needed in this changing world.
Blessing of Our Lady of the Nativity Service, Lawson
Bishop Vincent Long OFM Conv, Bishop of Parramatta, blessed the new Catholic Out of School Hours Care centre at Our Lady of the Nativity Primary School, Lawson in October.
“The care of children is, of course, one of the most sacred duties of the Christian community and the Church,” Bishop Vincent said during the ceremony.
“We want to ensure that children who come to our services are valued, are loved, are provided with the means to grow in knowledge and social skills.”
The Lawson centre joins with services at Springwood and Glenbrook in serving Catholic school communities in the Blue Mountains.
Some children at the COSHC service at St Francis the Assisi Primary School, Glendenning face individual challenges.
The service reached out to Michael Auprince, an Australian Paralympian who won gold and bronze medals for swimming at the 2012 Summer Paralympics in London and played wheelchair basketball.
He joined the children via Zoom to discuss some of the challenges he has faced and how he overcame these to become a successful athlete competing on the world stage.
At the conclusion, one child beamed with excitement and renewed confidence that he too, could also achieve this goal.
Celebrating Children’s Week
Children’s Week is a national celebration of children’s rights, talents and citizenship. Each year Children’s Week highlights a right from the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child. The 2020 Theme was Article 15 – “Children have the right to meet together and to join groups and organisations, as long as this does not stop other people from enjoying their rights.”
The Diocese of Parramatta’s COSHC and CELC Services held a range of activities to reinforce this theme.
Children created their own personal workbook on what makes them feel safe. These were shared with educators and family members, raising their consciousness about how we all behave in the presence of children.
In another activity, children at CELC Stanhope Gardens read the SAFE series, written by the Office of the Children’s Guardian. The books encourage protective behaviours and empower children to feel safe, resourceful and in control of their world.
Superheroes for the Community
Our teams of educators at our COSHC services take their connection with the community seriously. Our families do too, demonstrated by their tremendous support of recent activities.
The Basics for Beirut effort generated dozens of bags of toiletries, baby items and food boxes to be shipped to Lebanon to aid families affected by the blast.
St Oliver’s, Harris Park COSHC held a Superhero Day to raise funds and awareness of the children’s hospice, Bear Cottage. Several services supported Breast Cancer month, dressing in pink and donating funds for the McGrath Foundation.
Anthony Goonan is the CEO, Catholic Diocese of Parramatta Services Ltd.
More information about service locations and enrolments can be found at:
This article was originally featured in the Summer 2020/2021 Edition of the Catholic Outlook Magazine.