2022 marks the seventh year of the Child-Friendly Spaces (CFS) in China. We began the CFS programme in 2015, and have witnessed the growth of the programme into one of The Centre's central pillar of work in terms of impact and sustainability, benefitting and supporting more than 10,000 parent workers and children.
This summer in China, seven factories opened Child-Friendly Spaces for the first time as the COVID situation eased in certain parts of the provinces. The parent workers, especially the front-line workers were thrilled for the establishments of these spaces as they anticipate this great opportunity for them to spend quality time with their left-behind children who are here for the summer vacation.
The first phase of the project entailed the Centre staff to visit the factories to carry out the CFS pre-assessments, to conduct training for staff, to set up the plan and to review the renovation and operation process of the spaces.
The Child-Friendly Spaces began operating in the factories in mid-July, commemorated by the laughter of the energetic little visitors and their content parents. Below is a series of photos of the spaces after they have been turned and decorated into the selected CFS venues.
Every year, The Centre put a range of supporting measures in place for both parents and children. These measures are built from our experience from previous years and are improved and adapted continuously.
Meal services: The factories provided free snacks and meals for children.
Health & safety: Based on the baseline assessment and the CFS guideline, each factory invested substantially in the venue renovation and child-friendly facilities.
Special measures in times of COVID-19: All CFS strictly followed the requirements to minimise the risks of COVID-19, which included checking children’s temperatures everyday, ventilating the space at least three times a day, disinfecting the space at least twice a day, and practising frequent hand washing. The factories maintained close communication with the parents before and during the CFS programme to continuously monitor the children’s state of health.
Professional staff: All responsible CFS staff were trained by The Centre. The factories ensured that all the teachers hired externally at the CFS held relevant qualifications.
In order to kickstart the program, many participating factories launched the operation of the Child-Friendly Spaces by organising opening ceremonies for the parent workers and their children. The opening ceremonies were filled with fun family-bonding activities including relationship building recreational games, banner colouring, dumpling wrapping, and colourful sticky note wall art decorating made of the children’s wishes. During the ceremonies, the children sang, danced, played games with the parents, and bonded with the families.
This marked the children’s joyous first week at the CFS as they got to know the other children and enjoy the colourful, cosy space specially decorated for them.
A wide range of activities were organised for the CFS, including arts and crafts, singing and dancing, drawing, interactive games, reading and writing, film screenings, group games and sports. While most children enjoyed their summer break, other school-aged children also received homework tutoring from the CFS teachers on a regular basis. One particular factory utilised the facilities made available at the local school. The little ones were able to play and learn different types of musical instruments and enjoyed large group dancing sessions in the dance studio.
The Centre’s staff visited the operating CFS to conduct a monitoring assessment during this period in order to ensure that the spaces were up to standard in providing a safe, fulfilling and healthy summer for the children.
As summer drew to a close, The Centre visited the factories to carry out impact assessments of the CFS to collect feedback from participating children, parent workers, teachers and factory management.
The following is an excerpt from our interview with two participating parent workers of a CFS factory this year:
"I learnt about CFS through the notice from our department. In the previous summer holidays, my child stayed at home for a long time, always watching TV. Now at CFS, he can do things he likes, taking classes such as taekwondo, basketball, and model making. I pick him up around 5 pm everyday, and he would share what he has done. Sometimes he even tests our mathematical thinking that he learnt in the day." – A participating mother
"I knew about CFS since last year, and I signed up after hearing about it this year. Before, we had to keep him at home alone during summer holidays. I worried about him wandering off. After joining the CFS, the child has changed quite a lot. He is very lively now and is more talkative. He talks to us more about what he did at the CFS everyday and about his hobbies. He rarely talked like this before. He plays chess and basketball and also gets tutored on homework." – Father of a 10-year-old son
The following are some pictures of parent workers and the children posing with their parting gifts at the closing ceremony.
Child-Friendly Spaces (CFS) are childcare facilities at factories and production sites to support parent workers, which usually run over the summer when schools are closed, but can continue operating as after-school centres year round. In addition to allowing parents to spend valuable time with their children, CFS also helps prevent the risk of children being brought to production areas and hence reduces major compliance risks including children’s involvement in work.
Read more about our CFS programme here.
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