Benefits of Wrap-Around Care
There are many reasons to feel guilty as a parent: feeding our child pizza for the third night in a row; using screens as the default behaviour management tool; not hearing your child read before they go to bed or shouting too much are all common reasons, whether you work or are a stay at home parent. However, there are challenges that are particular to working parents. In a recent study conducted by the HR software provider CIPHR, the results revealed that 75% of working parents suffer from stress and anxiety as a result of their work life balance. As a working parent myself, I know that feeling all too well and I also know that when I am stressed there is a knock-on effect for my children. The key is not to feel guilty about working, but to organise yourself and your family so that the time you spend with your children is of real quality. That doesn’t mean that you need to be whizzing from one exciting activity to the next, but you do need to be there to listen to your child, to hear about their exciting adventures and their worries. But how can you do that when home time is a fast-paced rush from dinner to homework to bath to reading to bed! Fear not, schools can help you and using them is not something you should feel guilty about.
- Better than just breakfast. Wrap around care ensures that the hour before school is stress free. There is no need for hurrying or worrying about being late, no dirty dishes to wash and no panic when you open the fridge to find that the milk has run out. Both parents and children start the day calmly. When your child is well rested and relaxed they concentrate better and consequently learn more. Starting the day with a hearty breakfast is a delicious added bonus.
- Separating ‘work’ and ‘parents’ from working parents. Wrap around care also helps working parents separate their home life and work life. No more emails around the dinner table or juggling cooking dinner with finishing off that report that is due tomorrow and hearing your child read all at the same time. It means when parents are with their children, they are exactly that – parents.
- Have healthy hobbies. Most schools will have a whole host of exciting clubs and activities on offer before and after school. At Highfield and Brookham we offer the usual arts and crafts, football, French, book club and gymnastics, but also include some more unusual clubs such as yoga, judo, ballet, tap, street dance, musical theatre and ukulele. These help the children stay active, develop new skills and nurture new passions and interests.
- Socialising. It gives children the space to build on existing relationships and foster new friendships. They will spend time with children from different classes and years groups outside the formal teaching time. It also gives them the opportunity to bond with other children with similar interests at the different clubs and activities.
- Cuddles and care not admin and errands. Finally, in the evening parents can focus on what is important – curling up in bed with a story! It allows parents to have family time rather than admin time with their children. At Highfield and Brookham the children have an afterschool snack, time for homework, clubs and activities and a lovely homemade dinner.
We are delighted to now be offering longer before and after school care to our families. This quality childcare service is set in a welcoming and safe environment and supervised by highly qualified and experienced staff, who know the children well. The decision behind this has come from the need to support working parents. Starting at 7.30am allows parents to get the fast train into London, hopefully easing the pressure of balancing the school run with commuting. It sees the children right through until 6.30pm.
Sophie Baber, Headteacher at Brookham School