The benefits of vacation care for children

November 26, 2020

For children, school holidays are a great time full of wonder and joy, but for parents, they can be incredibly challenging. Holiday care programs are a valuable resource for many parents, helping people to work while offering children a safe place to play, learn, and make new friends. Vacation programs are a great idea over the six-week Christmas holiday period, with a variety of options available around Australia. Much more than keeping kids occupied or helping parents get to work, these programs provide specific and highly valuable benefits for children of all ages.

Encouraging stimulating and active play

The act of play is fundamental to every aspect of childhood development. Play is defined as engaging in activity for enjoyment or recreation rather than for practical purposes. Play is the natural way children interact with the world around them, and central to all aspects of learning and socialisation. As well as being highly enjoyable, play contributes greatly to cognitive, emotional, social, and physical well-being. Play has been recognised by the United Nations High Commission for Human Rights as a right of every child.

Play allows children to use their creativity while developing their imagination and physical dexterity in the presence of others. When kids are given a chance to play in a safe and secure environment, they are better equipped to develop key physical, cognitive, and emotional skills.

Vacation care programs provide endless opportunities for active and stimulating play. From everyday games and group sports to specific mental and physical activities, these programs offer children a chance to play with other kids and caring supervisors on a daily basis.

Promoting healthy childhood development

During the crucial childhood years, kids develop key social and language skills used throughout their life. As well as learning to communicate properly by listening and speaking with others, kids also learn about caring for people and looking after the environment. Healthy childhood development requires access to a well-rounded set of activities in a range of settings. Most of this development takes place in the home, but schools, childcare centres, and vacation care programs also play an important role.

Healthy development is dependent on many things, including structured and unstructured play, mental stimulation, and opportunities for movement and physical development. Coming up with new activities for growing kids is tough at the best of times, with the Christmas holiday period providing even greater challenges. Rather than getting stuck doing the same things every day or indulging in too much screen time, holiday care programs enable healthy development through novelty and variety.

Fostering friendships and social skills

Kids learn a lot about the world by interacting with others. Whether it’s other children of the same age, younger and older kids, or teachers and supervisors, access to a diverse range of people broadens communication skills and increases emotional intelligence. While a loving family environment is absolutely central, access to other people and ideas provides new opportunities for learning and discovery. Vacation care programs give kids a chance to spend time with other people in a safe and nurturing environment.

Developing new friendships and fostering existing relationships is challenging for children and adults alike. Vacation care programs and similar environments are ideal because they offer structure, safety, and access to other children in a similar situation. Children need to develop social skills, and kids who lack friends can suffer from emotional and mental difficulties later in life. Along with being a good role model and teaching your kids to handle challenges, giving them a chance to spend time with other children is one of the best things you can do to nurture their development.

Christmas holidays can be fun and exciting, but they’re also challenging for parents who want to do the best for their children. Holiday care programs are a great way to give your kids something extra by giving them a chance to play, learn, and make friends in a safe and supportive setting.

CatholicCare is an approved provider of vacation care during school holidays for children aged 5 to 12 years. Vacation care services operate at a number of our Catholic primary schools across northern metropolitan Sydney and the Central Coast and we accept children from all schools.

Located within school grounds, our centres provide safe, familiar, purpose built and well maintained child-friendly environments, allowing us to offer a wide range of extracurricular activities catering to children of differing ages, interests and needs.

We currently provide vacation care services at:

  • St Gerard’s OSHC, Carlingford
  • St Patrick’s OSHC, East Gosford
  • Our Lady of Good Counsel, Forestville
  • Holy Cross OSHC, Kincumber
  • St Brendan’s OSHC, Lake Munmorah
  • Sacred Heart OSHC, Pymble
  • St John Fisher’s OSHC, Tumbi Umbi
  • Our Lady of the Rosary OSHC, Waitara
  • St John the Baptist OSHC, Woy Woy


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