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A new agency to extend pastoral outreach

26 December 2019
Bishop Vincent Long during a visit to the Mary, Queen of the Family Parish, Blacktown South Catholic Early Learning Centre. Image: Diocese of Parramatta.

 

In August this year, Bishop Vincent announced the creation of a new Diocesan agency, Catholic Diocese of Parramatta Services Limited.

This new, not-for-profit company now has responsibility for the Diocese’s extensive network of Catholic Out of School Hours Care Centres and Catholic Early Learning Centres.

This new agency, with its own board, is embarking on a journey to extend the pastoral outreach of the Diocese to further the mission of the church by growing the existing childcare services, and expanding the network with schools, parishes and other agencies.

Chief Executive Officer, Mr Anthony Goonan, says “it is a privilege” to lead this new agency and serve the people of Western Sydney and the Blue Mountains.

“Early learning for ages 3-5 is becoming increasingly important to equip our young children for lifelong learning and build their adaptability, and cognitive and collaborative skills needed throughout the formal education years and beyond,” Mr Goonan says.

“Taken hand in hand with out-of- school-hours care, we can walk beside our children and their families through the foundational years of their lives.

“Our service leaders will look beyond the schools and parishes they serve to incorporate best practice from various participants in the sector and influence policy makers.”

Catholic Out of School Hours Care providing vacation care

Parents and caregivers know best the joys and trials that school holidays can bring. While giving lots of extra weekday family time, school holidays can sometimes be a challenge, and place demands on families to find activities for their children to keep them busy and occupied. Many families in the Diocese take advantage of Vacation Care, operated by our Catholic Out of School Hours Care centres.

There are nine Vacation Care hubs across the Diocese, located at the following primary schools:

  • Bethany, Glenmore Park
  • Good Shepherd, Plumpton
  • Mary Immaculate, Quakers Hill
  • Mother Teresa, Westmead
  • St Monica’s, North Parramatta
  • St Michael’s, Blacktown South
  • St Bernadette’s, Castle Hill
  • Holy Cross, Glenwood
  • St John XXIII, Stanhope Gardens

All these centres will be operating in January. Two more, at St Joseph’s, Schofields and St Paul The Apostle, Winston Hills, are expected to open in 2020.

And last year a state-of-the-art Early Learning Long Day Care Centre at St Luke’s Marsden Park opened for business 49 weeks of the year for the children enrolled in this service.

What happens at Vacation Care?

A range of activities, incursions and excursions designed to foster learning and build relationships across the age range. Events are designed to keep children occupied throughout the day. Examples include 10-pin bowling, laser tag, silent discos, visits to the zoo, the movies and lots of art, craft, cooking and games. The program is developed from children’s ideas and suggestions and this ensures we provide a program they love.

Children make new friends, learn new skills and enjoy new experiences. They say it’s the ‘best holiday ever’ and can’t wait to come back.

Parents are thankful for the service provided as it allows them to go to work with the peace of mind that their children are safe and enjoying the holidays.

A special feature of Catholic Out of School Hours and Vacation Care is the presence of Christ, through daily prayer and the values demonstrated by our experienced educators and carers.

 

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