It’s hard to say who lockdown has been hardest on — stressed parents or their young children stuck inside Hong Kong’s infamously compact homes.
But, 14 families recently had the chance to enjoy a special open space filled with educational toys, games, swings and climbing frames.
That space is the newly opened Family Centre at the P. C. Lee OneSky Global Centre for Early Childhood Development in Sham Shui Po. The event was a Community Day set up to promote OneSky Parenting Training workshops, launching to local families this month.
On this occasion, moms and dads joined a 15-minute parenting talk in English and Cantonese, then spent time enjoying a facilitated play session with their children and OneSky Family Mentors.
The brand-new Family Centre includes an indoor playground, wet room, access to books, videos and counselling services.
“This was just a brief taster of Parenting Training,” said Cordelia Au, OneSky Associate Director of Community Partnerships. “But we were able to talk about observing, interpreting and responding to children which is at the heart of the OneSky Approach.”
The Family Centre will also serve as a community gathering space where children (up to age six) and their caregivers can play and learn together.
Families with children of this age, living in a designated area of Sham Shui Po, can register as members. Registered members are able to book facilitated play sessions, participate in parenting skills workshops, and access consultation and referral services. Residents living outside the service boundary may attend parenting skills workshops.
While 2020 has been a difficult year for all, parents and young children have suffered disproportionately. The pandemic has affected work availability as well as childcare and outlets for play.
But OneSky is determined to help.
“The centre is a safe, friendly space for children and parents where they can enjoy the space, access assistance and be a part of a community facing the same challenges,” said Cordelia.
“In the meantime, we have received so much positive feedback from our invited guests and watched the children have so much fun. Children need to play and that requires space – that’s a premium for so many in Hong Kong, particularly this year with public play spaces having been closed.”