This summer, we cooperated with a brand and their supplier to help set up a Child Friendly Space (CFS) in their factory in Zhejiang Province, China. As many of the employees at this factory are migrant workers who are separated from their children throughout the year or who don’t have childcare options for their children during the summer holiday, CFS is a way of responding to their needs while also fostering a positive, supportive work environment.
CFS is designed to be a fun, stimulating space run by professional teachers. The aim is to offer the children plenty of opportunities to play, to mingle and make friends, to pick up or hone skills, and to learn. So how does a typical day look at this particular CFS? We were lucky enough to have the opportunity to be a fly on the wall at a CFS this week, where we took delight in observing the many games and activities offered throughout the day. Here’s how the day went down:
1. Morning puzzle games
As soon as the kids were dropped off by their parents and entered the CFS, boxes of building blocks and legos awaited them. The building blocks are simple but good toys to teach children about gravity, balance and geometry, as well as recognising different shapes and colours. The blocks at the CFS are made from different materials including wood, plastic, rubber and paper so the kids can feel the different materials and stimulate their senses. During the building block session, the teacher showed the kids sample pictures of structures for inspiration. The highly concentrated boys and girls constructed everything from rising towers and castles to cars and tanks. The kids were so concentrated they didn’t even notice us taking photos!
2. Rest time before class
Next up, the kids took part in a few simple games to get the oxygen flowing before the main class, like magical chairs and “what time is it Mr. Fox.”
3. Class time
The content of the main class here is quite fluid as the kids’ ages vary from 6-12 years. To make it interesting for everyone, classes usually entail reading stories, art, singing and dancing and simple math exercises. During our visit, the kids were focused and took the class very seriously. Here’s some of the art and math exercises that they did!
4. Lunch time
After a packed morning of playing and activities, the kids had built up quite the appetite. At CFS, the children are served with wholesome, balanced meals each day that includes fruit and drinks. These meals are completely free and freshly delivered to the CFS each noon.
5. Rest time
Fully satiated after the generous lunch meal, the kids became pretty sleepy. Within a few minutes, the kids had shut their eyes to rejuvenate for the afternoon play sessions.
6. Finger games
After the kids awoke from their naps, the teacher taught them how to play finger games. Finger games are great for dexterity, timing and finger isolation, as well as for fine motor skills practice.
7. Free play time
Next up was free play time, where the kids got to play as they pleased. Some of the kids opted to play with the many toys available at the CFS, while others grouped together and chatted or played games with each other.
8. Time to go home
As the end of the day drew near, the kids’ eyes were starting to wander towards the entrance knowing that any minute their parents would come in to pick them up. By 5pm, all workers had picked up their children and just like that a whole day at the CFS had passed.