Media Release: Australian-first child-led OSHC program

21 October 2023

Australian-first child-led OSHC program prioritises play-based experiences

21 October 2023: In celebration of National Children’s Week, Junior Adventures Group (JAG) is proud to announce our new Australian-first Adventure Program. Backed by child development research and created in partnership with industry experts, the program provides children with the opportunity to learn essential life skills and explore their own interests.

This year JAG, as part of our commitment to engage with industry leaders, has received the advice and support of Play Australia, the national peak body for play since 1914. This work has taught us that children’s access to free play not only a recognised human right but critically important for healthy human development. For this reason, in 2024 we are embarking on an ambitious three year strategy to embed play and playwork principles across all our services.

Reinforcing the benefits of child led programs, new international data published by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) describes how a child’s social and emotional skills directly relate to the individual, family and school, and are closely linked to academic success, labour market outcomes and health.

However, social isolation throughout the pandemic has led to an evidenced impact on the social and emotional development of children.

In alignment with the theme of this year’s National Children’s Week, ‘Children have the right to relax, play and to take part in activities they enjoy’, JAG’s new Adventure Program provides children with the vital social, emotional and interpersonal skills to prepare them for life, by creating environments where playfulness can thrive. Delivered through seven fun-filled categories that have been designed to help children navigate the world around them, children can participate a variety of categories including: Flavour Fest, Global Kids, Brain Boosters, Wellbeing Warriors, Power Teams, Super Sports and Creative Inventors.

Melinda Crole, CEO of JAG Australia, says that by moving away from the constraints of the past, childhood education can play a more meaningful part in positively impacting our next generation of children.

“Children spend up to half their childhood free time in OSHC and JAG is committed to ensuring that children experience the benefits of rich play opportunities and fun adventures across all our services. We believe children deserve nothing less than our full attention to this goal.

“We are excited to announce this world-leading program has launched simultaneously across all OSHC Services globally in Australia, New Zealand, the United Kingdom and Ireland. JAG looks forward to upcoming partnerships with tier one researchers to develop a framework to measure the wellbeing impact of the Adventure Program,” said Melinda.

JAG partnered with industry expert Robyn Munro Miller, CEO Play Australia, to help design the Adventure Program in line with best practise child development principals.

“It is exciting to have one of Australia’s leading OSHC providers commit to our mission to build a healthier Australia through the power of play. Play deprivation has serious physical and mental health implications for children. The work we are undertaking with JAG is an exciting step forward in addressing that deficit, drawing on the depth of international experience and local expertise to embed play in daily practices at a service level,” said Robyn.

Safeguarding the safety and security of all children, JAG’s Safeguarding Children and Young People Policy has 100% compliance training from all staff members, ensuring all children can flourish in a safe and supportive environment while giving peace of mind to parents.