Newest child care centers play strictly by the rules

"You You Day Care," is one of several nurseries to open in the city since new standards and regulations came into force.
Jiang Xiaowei / SHINE

A child plays under the watchful eyes of a teacher at “You You Day Care” in Xuhui District.

A new creche opened yesterday in a business and shopping complex in Xuhui.

“You You Day Care,” is one of several nurseries to open in the city since new standards and regulations came into force.

Child care centers and preschools in various parts of the country had been found to have problems, some more serious than others, including some accusations of child abuse.

Demand for child care is increasing due to parents’ high workloads and the baby boom which followed relaxation of the family planning policy, allowing each couple to have two children.

Communities, companies and industrial parks are being encouraged to set up creches and nurseries where parents can drop off their kids on their way to work and pick them up again on the way back home.

Until recently, there were no explicit guidelines on care for such young children and no government department was explicitly authorized to oversee such establishments. Problems inevitably arose.

A child abuse case was reported last year in a facility set up by online travel agent Ctrip for its staff, arousing considerable public anger and a cry for proper regulations.

Against this backdrop, 16 city departments came together to work out a regulatory regime that took effect in June.

There are specific requirements on setting up and running nurseries, including rules on location, class size, surveillance, teacher qualifications and nutrition. The responsibilities of each government department are clear, with new centers in all districts of the city to oversee nurseries. To date, 11 new nurseries have been approved under the new standards.

“You You Day Care” is in a complex owned and by the Greenland Group. Geng Jing, vice president of the state-owned real estate company, said the group polled 500 parents who live or work locally, and 20 percent of them said they needed child care.

“Teachers and carers are the most important part of any nursery and some of the problems that precipitated the new rules were due to unqualified staff,” he said.

“We therefore decided to pay our staff 10 to 20 percent more than the industry average to attract properly qualified people.”

Xu Yingru, head of “You You,” said its six staff all had at least five years’ experience in preschool education and held the required qualifications.

The nursery has opened with only 10 children but aims to admit up to 80. By that time there will be at least 12 qualified staff to keep the child-staff ratio within the 7:1 requirement.

The nursery charges 6,900 yuan (US$1,014) a month for full-day care, which is around the market average. There are plans for half-day care at a lower price.

Jing Huafang who lives nearby took her 2-year-old grandson to the nursery yesterday. He will start his school life there next Monday so she is taking him there this week get him familiar with the environment and the staff.

Jing and her daughter looked at many nurseries in the area and chose carefully.

“The bottom line is that we must feel secure. Approval from so many government departments makes a big difference,” she said.

“My daughter is busy with work. My son-in-law works in Suzhou and only comes to Shanghai once a week,” she said.

“It’s difficult for me to look after him. I have housework to do and he is quite a handful.”

“I believe children grow up more healthily in a group rather than staying alone at home,” she added. “He can play with other children here.”


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