Recently, I visited a regional child care center in Seocho-gu because I am interested in children. Specifically, I am interested in how they are treated and cared for, and the types of aids given to the parents for childcare. At a regional child care center, children and teenagers (mostly working parents) who need “social care” can have their needs met by the staff and volunteers.
|[Yeouido child care center. Photo credits to Grace Lee]|
In regional child care centers, children receive high- quality education from both the center itself and volunteers. At the Yeouido child care center, students from prestigious colleges in Seoul often volunteer to give 1:1 mentoring to the children on homework, which enhances the standard of education for them and helps to develop their character. The numbers of mentors are not fixed; they volunteer to come if they have the time. In addition, teachers specializing in physical literacy and education often get to the children enrolled in the center to get plenty of exercise and do quality stretching to keep themselves healthy and fit. These teachers are professionals who have received actual training in physical education who come to the center at least once a week for the children. Although the center was not very large, the overall atmosphere of the center was comparatively calm and nice, with no child showing dissatisfaction in particular. The children’s ages in general were quite young, consisting mostly of lower-elementary students.
|[Children of the child care center doing exercises.
Photo credits to Grace Lee]
According to the center’s staff, there were 23 children that attended the center on a regular basis. However, due to the recent COVID-19 outbreak, there were only three children at the center on the day that I visited. They also said that in after-school hours, there were several children who came specifically to receive the free tutoring provided at the center. Additionally, Ms. Sung, who is a worker at the center, said that many companies normally give the center donations of books or rice. For example, Samsung Electronics donated boxes of food for all the children at the center to make sure they stay healthy during the pandemic.
|[Goods donated to the center. Photo credits to Grace Lee]|
When I asked about what she felt needed to be improved in regards to the regional child care center, Sung replied, “Although children from dual- income families are eligible to use the center, it does not seem to have been promoted well enough yet. I hope that all families that need the center’s services can be better informed of.” Welfare provided by local society to people who need it is a very beneficial system for those in need, and, if it is publicized enough, can come to the aid of many families in need.
The children attending a regional child care center are normally conceived to be from families that are facing some challenges, either socially or economically. Despite this popular belief, children from families of all social status are accepted. When both parents do not have time for their children due to their work, they can always seek help from a regional child care center.
From my visit to the Seocho-gu center, I personally learned a lot of things that broke my preconceptions about this facility. Believing that only children from lower-income families were accepted in there, I was surprised to know that in the Yeouido Child Care Center, although most children are from underprivileged families, they do also accept children from families of higher income level, but not many families in need actually know about this. These children are receiving very good care from trained teachers, and are certainly better off than just staying at home while both their parents are at work. I believe that a good organization such as the regional childcare center should be promoted better to the general public.
Suyeon Grace Lee
Cheongna Dalton School
Suyeon Grace Lee firstname.lastname@example.org
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