Professional Development for After School Staff

Professional Development for After School Staff – Safe For Children is changing the way providers approach staff training! 

When the school bell rings at the end of a day, you can almost feel the tension lift as children grab their bags and race out the door. Their minds turn from social studies to social activities. More and more, however, these children are heading to after school programmes, where staff face the difficult task of letting kids be kids (relax and have fun) whilst still encouraging their learning and development in a safe, secure and nurturing environment.


Why Staff Need Training


Although staff may have important and valuable experience as teachers, teacher aides, coaches, early childhood educators, childcare workers or parents etc. these days there is a vast range of experience and skills required amongst after school staff. “When I discuss quality programming, legislation and policies with providers it becomes very clear that staff are required to do many things that require great responsibility and providers need to be confident that their staff have the adequate skills and experience to respond. Most employees are part-time or casual so finding accessible affordable training and retaining suitable staff can be a constant challenge for Managers.” Donna Bouzaid, Director Safe For Children. Regular training, without a doubt, raises the skill level and competency of people working with children. It also makes the provider more sustainable through reducing risk and they can promote their services as employing staff with the necessary training and certification. Furthermore, staff training has a major impact on the day to day quality of an after school service. Regular training opportunities can empower staff to make changes that will improve the quality of care for children. Changes based on shared goals and learnings can profoundly influence children’s experiences in a programme and can make a lasting impression – the future is ours to shape, let’s get it right!  



The Problem


The problem is that most providers have limited time and money available for training and for new staff it’s often a case of ‘sink or swim’.  These issues highlight logistical challenges for providing up to date professional development for staff. Of course there are always conferences and regional face to face staff training, along with networking meetings but at many sites, only a programme manager and/or a site coordinator are able to attend due to financial constraints. Although they often return from the conferences, training and meetings brimming with ideas and enthusiasm, they are often unsure how to implement what they have learned. Furthermore, few programmes have the funds or resources to bring an in-house trainer, with up to date information and expertise, on site. Time limitations also pose a challenge, as few after school programmes offer employees paid in-service days set aside for staff development the way schools do.



The Solution


In their first few months on the job, new staff (including Managers) need the time and support of more experienced colleagues. They also need an induction prior to starting work and thereafter regular training and networking opportunities.


Safe For Children is helping after school professionals change the way they approach staff training and professional development. It's now easier to quickly and effectively manage your staff training needs.  


Safe For Children has developed live online training that is flexible and accessible enough for programmes to provide training for all staff (including volunteers) in a timeframe that fits their busy schedules, and budgets too!



Safe For Children live online training is designed to be:


Convenient. Staff can listen to sessions at home or at work—even on mobile devices!


Comprehensive. Covers relevant Child Development, Child Protection and Child Health & Safety apply-today and ‘need to know’ information and techniques for staff.


Effortless. Staff can log on, listen, think, reflect, ask questions and participate in the discussions during these live sessions.


Certificated. Staff and volunteers can complete a short multiple choice test after completing the training session to gain the relevant course certification. 



“When I first began visiting/reviewing after school programmes, we all thought professional development meant sending staff to a conference or paying hundreds of dollars to fly someone in to lead a training session, in fact I was often one of the people they flew in for trainings” says Donna Bouzaid. “Safe For Children is changing that - our online training has to be seen as the smallest carbon footprint and the most sustainable learning solution for providers and we are super excited to be leading the success of this for organisations.”


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