Text/Photo: Chia-Yi Lee
Translation: J.B. Willis, Steve J. Lin
Hualien’s children will be happier. This year the Parent-Child Center of Hualien asked TCU’s Department of Child Development and Family Studies to manage the Center. In addition to providing spaces for parents and children to play together, the Center also invites professional social workers to offer needed assistance to them. On this day, many people attended the grand opening celebration.
To serve more children and families, the Parent-Child Center of Hualien has undergone a major renovation. County Magistrate Chen-Wei Hsu expressed her gratitude to TCU for its good efforts. Caring for women, children and family education is a major policy for Hualien County Government, and the Parent-Child Center plays a big role for serving families. Thus, Hualien County Government chose to work with TCU to expand the Center’s role. Now parents and children here can learn together, and TCU students can put their learning into practice. Moreover, through interacting with each other, TCU students and Hualien’s youngsters can inspire each other and develop their potentials.
TCU’s president Pen-Jung Wang is a pediatrician and expert in pediatric neurology. On this day he didn’t attend to the children as a pediatrician; instead, in their eyes, he was a grandfather who enjoyed building houses with them. President Wang pointed out that we need to enhance our brain power by learning throughout our lifetime, and the best time for us to learn is when we are children. To assist children to learn, the Center has designated spaces to serve different functions, and tries to enhance children’s balance, touching, vision, sense of space, and so on. To help young children learn how to take responsibility, Center facilities are designed for parents and children to work together, and assist parents to play their caring and responsible roles. If we have more responsible children, the world will be better.
Not every child is allowed to come to the Center, for it only welcomes children who are six years old or less. In considering children’s needs, the Center’s space is divided into two major parts, namely an area for children 2 years old and under and one for 2-6 year olds. For those under age 2, the Center provides space for them to walk or crawl, to touch things, or to build blocks. For children who are 2 to 6, the Center provides hand-on experience, enhances their knowledge, develops their reading skills, let’s them enjoy block building, or do role playing. The Center attends to children of different ages, by making its spaces safe and friendly, and enabling parents to play with their children.
Center director Jia-Hua Wang shared that on April 23, 2019, the newly renovated Center opened to the public. Parents spoke highly of the Center. Some were happy to see their children who were under 2 years old learning to walk and crawl. For those who are between 2-6 years old, their parents played numerous games with them.
Ya-Li Cheng, the chairperson of TCU’s Department of Child Development and Family Studies, mentioned that her department offers numerous in-campus classes to TCU students, such as Preschool Education, Learning Environments Design, Child Care, Special Education, etc. The Center is a good place for faculty members to test their lesson plans, and for students to put their class learning into action. The Center will sponsor many programs, for parents and children to play together, for parents to enhance their parental skills, or for volunteers to acquire needed knowledge and skills. The Center has a special feature, with social worker and child care professionals on hand to respond to parent’s needs and provide them information regarding available social resources.
Today, County Magistrate Chen-Wei Hsu, TCU’s president and vice president had a good time with the children, and participated in role playing and house building with them. When not playing, they kept their eyes on children’s safety. Everyone had a good time.
The Center is spacious and has many fun games. It’s a good place for parents to play with their children. Li Cin has a one year old child, who has played with many toys in the Center, which were not available at home. Moreover, she was happy to meet many parents. Han-Ru Wu appreciated that the Center attends to the children’s needs. Toddlers can crawl safely and won’t be affected by older children; meanwhile, older children can play their games happily. For children, this Center allows them to play joyfully; and mothers can enjoy their break.
The children loved “Preparing Food for Our Guests” very much. They dressed like chefs and prepared food for their guests. In the past, dining at a restaurant wasn’t popular at all. When people gave banquets, they usually asked chefs to come to their homes, business places, or venues for wedding receptions, birthday parties, etc. The children experienced how chefs came to the site and prepared food, which was quite different from what we have now.
The Center opens from Tuesday to Sunday, from 9:00 am to 12:00 noon and from 2:00 pm to 5:00 pm, and it is closed on Mondays. Each month, the Center will sponsor numerous activities for parents, such as learning with their children and enhancing their parental skills. The Center will update their events calendar regularly, and we may pay attention to it.