The training room at the P. C. Lee OneSky Global Centre for Early Childhood Development is always filled with joy and laughter during parenting-skills training sessions.
On any given day, enthusiasm is high between trainers and parents. Engaging their students in lively conversation and interactions, the trainers are empathetic and always trying to understand the parents’ struggles with their children, and provide support.
Trainers Angela Lam and Ceci Chan see themselves as companions rather than teachers.
While OneSky’s genesis and mission are quite enthralling and the organization’s strategic goals are so aptly aligned with my career ambitions, it was really the conversations that I had with Morgan, OneSky’s CEO, and Jenny, OneSky’s founder, that compelled me to join. Hearing firsthand about their dedication and commitment to varied aspects of the organization’s work in early childhood education and development let me know that OneSky and those who support the mission here (either through donations, volunteering, or their employment) are purely devoted to the children, their families and caregivers, and their progressive well-being.
“Walking along with the parents, we listen to their challenges while trying our best to empower them to believe in themselves, and know their own abilities as well as their children’s.”
Both Angela and Ceci are qualified and registered kindergarten teachers, childcare workers, childcare supervisors, and special childcare workers. They understand brain development in children aged 0-3 and know that if parents and caregivers can establish a healthy and secure attachment with their child in the early years, it can have a significant positive impact on the child’s development.
In Sham Shui Po, local residents near the OneSky Centre lack early childhood parental education. OneSky is committed to providing training and support to vulnerable families and, in the two-years since opening in May 2020, the OneSky Centre has become a community hub for young children to play and learn, along with their caregivers.
Angela says there has always been a shortage of early childhood parental education. “If more resources were allocated, caregivers would better understand their roles and importance to their child’s development needs. By improving their parenting skills, they create more value for themselves, building a solid foundation for their child’s growth.”
As a child’s development varies at different stages, OneSky’s program content and training activities are taught according to a child’s age, making it easier for caregivers to respond to the child’s needs. Through interactive learning, OneSky trains caregivers to observe, interpret and listen to the child, appreciating and believing in the uniqueness of each child.
Recently, the trainers held a successful workshop designed for first-time parents of children up to 18-months-old. “In each lesson, we invited caregivers to talk about their parenting challenges and learnings. A little shy at first, through listening and sharing, they gradually became strong supporters of each other,” Ceci said.
She recalled a mother who was puzzled by her child’s tantrums. When the other caregivers shared their experiences and gave advice, the mother visibly relaxed. “Through our interactive training and workshops, we have built a platform for caregivers to support each other,” Ceci said. “Parents from similar backgrounds feel safe and empowered to express themselves and, more importantly, they know that they are not alone.”
Angela added, “We should always try to see the world from a child’s perspective; it is easier said than done. Nevertheless, an empowered and confident caregiver can bring very positive changes to a family. Witnessing the improvements in parent-child relations encourages us to continue our work and to devote ourselves to helping families in need.”
OneSky offers parenting skills training to caregivers of children aged 0-6, from families in need. The interactive training program is rooted in responsive and nurturing caregiving. Professional training programs for those who work with young children (including community nannies, volunteers, and students in early childhood education and social work disciplines) is also provided. Through the training, OneSky hopes to create a loving network of care in the community for young children and vulnerable families.