Student stories

EPHE student learns the ins and outs of effective childcare

Aoi Shimizu

West Shore Parks and Recreation

West Shore Parks and Recreation is a public organization that offers a wide variety of recreation and sport programs and services to the people in the West Shore district, specifically the City of Colwood, the City of Langford, the District of Metchosin, the District of Highlands, the Juan de Fuca Electoral area and the Town of View Royal. Its main recreation center is based in Langford and also works through several other locations around the West Shore area. Their mission is to provide diverse and accessible recreational and sport programs to promote healthy active lifestyles. They offer a variety of recreational programs for all ages, preschool programs to senior programs, with a wide range of activities, mainly focusing on physical fitness, some art programs, school programs and summer camps.

As an after-school care leader, my responsibility was to supervise children during the after school care program. This consisted of creating daily programs which offers diverse types of activities, such as arts and crafts, sports, baking, and out trips. I had to effectively and efficiently run programs, build relationships with the children, their families and the community, as well as deal with some behavioral issues and conflict resolutions.

Through my work experience at West shore, there were a couple things that I noticed related back to my studies. The first one was the importance of outdoor play for children. After a full day of school, many children come into after school care in need of releasing some energy by playing outside. Therefore, we tried to incorporate as much outside free play time into our schedule as possible.

Another skill that I believe I was able to work on was my program planning skills. My coworker and I tried to offer variety of activities that were creative and non repetitive as our after school care program ran for 10 months, we needed to make sure the children were not getting bored and were able to try different things.

An unexpected experience was the difficulty when dealing with children that have behavioral issues. Though I was used to working with children and dealing with minor behavioral issues, at the beginning of my work term, I struggled to effectively deal with some behavioral issues. But after a few months of getting to know these children, I was able to pick up on ways to deal with their behavioral issues. For example, it was very effective to remove them from the room and discuss the problem where there were no other distractions and gave them some alone time.

This work experience allowed me to gain some skills in terms of building relationships and communication. I was involved with a diverse group of children and it reminded me to think about all the factors that might be affecting the way the kids are behaving. Often times, when dealing with older children or adults, I forget about the fact that there might be something in their life that is affecting the way people are acting. I believe that reminding myself about this will allow me to communicate better with future co-workers or customers. Another thing is that I feel more confident in creating and preparing programs and hope that I will get the opportunity to be involved in a larger scale, complex program which comes with some more responsibility.

More about Exercise science, physical and health education co-op