School Age Care: The centrality of play in children’s ideal afterschool environments
Deirdre Horgan, Jacqui O’Riordan, Shirley Martin and Jane O’Sullivan (Applied Social Studies, UCC)
This paper examines children’s views and experiences of school age care (SAC). It presents findings from consultations conducted with children aged 5 to 12 years of age using a variety of participatory child-centred group and individual methods. The researchers were police vetted and all procedures adhered to national guidance on research with children. Children were very clear in their views of different SAC experiences. Play, in particular outdoor play, emerged as the priority for children. Eating and food was the next most frequently mentioned theme followed by wanting to relax after school. What these views offer us is an insight into what children value in the places that are available to them for SAC, the activities they are familiar with and those they prefer. The report of the consultations produced by the authors informed the Action Plan on School Age Childcare (DES, 2017).