Superheroes are real- they work in school age childcare

Over recent months we have been working with Spring Oscars, a multi-site school age childcare service based primarily in Edinburgh, and earlier this week we were privileged to be asked to participate in an induction day for their large staff team. Knowing that earlier, staff would have taken part in sessions on policies, procedures and safeguarding we wanted to provide an opportunity to left off some steam, to play, be creative and most importantly, have some fun. Sounds familiar? Yes, there's not much difference between wee kids and big ones, and at SOSCN we believe everyone needs to have fun in school age childcare.

With a ready supply of papers, scissors (but no rocks), pens, tape, lollipop sticks, pipe cleaners and variously coloured post-its we tasked groups to create their 'Super Hero Playworker' by highlighting the super powers and accessories required to work in school age childcare. After 20 minutes of chat, laughter, cutting, gluing, drawing and building we had 11 individual Superheroes: 'Wonder Wendy', 'Captain Care', 'Wizard of Imagination' and 'SHANARRI guy' were amongst those who took to the floor.

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Although individual, there were threads of commonality in the powers displayed:

“big heart”, “eyes in the back of head”, “super-sensitive hearing”, “extra hands and arms”, “mind reader”, “sense of humour”, “super-speed”, and “super-listening” being the most common. Some of the more unique powers included “can see round corners”, “ability to divide self in order to be in different places at different times” and “able to freeze time”. In addition to capes our superheroes had “weather appropriate clothes”, “comfortable shoes”, “safety goggles”, a “Mary Poppins bag of tricks”, “a lightbulb for all the great ideas”, as well as an endless supply of ice packs. These 'powers' and accessories are no doubt familiar to many of you.

The activity allowed staff to a) have fun b) be creative with very cheap and limited resources, and c) highlight the skills required to be a great out of school childcare practitioner. Staff also clearly demonstrated their passion and enthusiasm for the job throughout the whole exercise.

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Of course, safeguarding, regulation and legislation are important but so too are play, having fun and creating a happy atmosphere, so let's add 'happy' and 'having fun' to the wellbeing outcomes. Let's make out of school care not just the best place for children but also the best place for staff.

We also know that despite all the difficulties the workforce face on a daily basis there's so much passion, invention, creativity and enthusiasm in staff that needs to be released and used for good- often the best things in life are not only free but also already within our powers.

Onwards Wizards of Imagination, we salute thee!

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last updated: 18/08/2022