Childcare provision is arguably an essential part of modern societies. It enables parents to work and children can accelerate their learning outcomes, even without their parents being present.
Childcare services promote the integration of parents and children into local communities and help to nurture society’s progress; parents continue to enhance their working skills and contribute to the labour market.
Yet, despite the expansion of childcare across the globe, there remains an acute need for a qualitative improvement in terms of affordable and flexible childcare. Thankfully, social innovations exist to address human concerns using new approaches and new solutions. We therefore shed light on 8 astounding examples of social innovation in childcare. Sit still!
Day Care Centres & Kindergartens
Day care centres typically offer developmental programmes for children, while kindergartens offer instructive programmes for specific age groups. There are numerous social innovations associated with both types of infrastructure that nurture children’s upbringing. But in what way could that be remarkable? Well, can you imagine infrastructures being designed and built in such a way that children would love, enjoy and learn all at once?
Fuji Kindergarten and Ecole Maternelle Pajol – Paris create a magical environment for children that further develops and hones their skills, centred on curiosity and motivation. Combining architectural design with award-winning educational programmes can lead to major success stories. Childcare is obviously not a new concept and thus should not be perceived as such, so it’s a huge bravo to those renowned professionals that bring new approaches to the field!| Find out more about innovative centres around the globe here. |
Keeping children safe and healthy is of paramount importance for childcare providers. Parents searching for the best childcare centre for their children will be interested in several aspects. From licensing standards to trained staff and childproofed spaces, parents will always have safety factors in mind when making their selection. Currently, there are several organisations providing accreditation to childcare providers so as to ensure a high-quality service.
Child Care Aware is working on ‘assisting new child care providers with the start-up process, helping providers meet licensing requirements, offering low-cost or free training in topics like health and safety, child development, and sound business practices’,alongsidemany more.
Taking into account the numerous incidents to have occurred in the childcare market around the world, which have brought into jeopardy the lives of thousands of children, such measures are absolutely necessary. Social innovations include new concepts, ideas and strategies for addressing human needs and such organisations typify the social innovation mindset from the outset. | Find out more about the organisations’ programmes here & here.|
An increasing number of parents will end up having second thoughts over the adoption of childcare services after looking carefully at the costs involved. Day care centres can have a plethora of costs and parents often look for budget-minded childcare services. The market is continually shifting and several social innovation initiatives can be evidenced that are trying to address parents’ needs by offering new solutions.
Childcare providers are testing new concepts with regard to their services and are moving towards providing flexible hours, keeping rates the same or even reducing them, and offering discounts or new payment arrangements. A great majority of parents seem to struggle with the costs involved and try to make day care work on a budget. Transforming childcare centres and kindergartens to meet parents’ needs – a well-considered social innovation initiative! | Interested in gaining extra insight into the topic? Click here & here. |
Leave work at 5 pm, sit in traffic until 6 pm on the way to pick up the kids, arrive home, to then prepare dinner and eventually try to spend some quality time with the children – sound familiar? Evidently, this type of scenario is experienced by a great number of individuals and characterises their daily routine; however, many are blessed with onsite childcare services at work.
A great array of businesses, from Goldman Sachs to Nike (Nike Child Development) and Google offer day care services because they comprehend the work–life balance. Companies that care for their workers’ personal growth and happiness are moving towards strategies, concepts and ideas that benefit different stakeholders and their communities. Another notable example of corporate childcare can be seen in companies that provide day care discounts, such as Microsoft. | Find more Corporate Childcare examples here & here. |
Technology Changing Frontiers
Childcare providers have noticed that parents are worried about their children’s daily routine while they are at work. Parents express their discomfort at leaving their children to a variety of different professionals for so long, and they strive to keep the parental connection with their children. Good news! Childcare providers, in their pursuit to find a solution, have moved on certain social innovation initiatives to provide the peace of mind parents are seeking. Technology is changing the way people are interacting and communicating.
Tadpoles is an eminent example that is revolutionising childcare. How does it work? They simply state: ‘What did your child do today? Now you will always know. Photos and videos of your child’s day give you a view of their day. Daily reports keep you informed of the daily activities and learning experiences that happen while you are at work.’ Remarkable, isn’t it? | Interested in keeping up with what’s happening in day care? Click here for some extra tips. |
Innovations in Childcare
Childcare is not rocket science, yet, finding a suitable environment with high-quality services and a personalised experience, seems to be a daily struggle for many parents. Any parent will admit that it is not easy to find a place where children experiences are tailor-made. Most kindergartens assign their employees a small number of children that they need concurrently to be taken care of. Yet, children have complex needs and need to be treated as individuals, even if they do not have their own voice to stand up for themselves.
Simply play is an out of school care service traced in Scotland that has an innovative approach to child care. The innovations of this service include implementing a singular professional set-up, having a personalised approach for each child and installing a unique booking system. Simply Play emphasizes on children’s preferences and ensures that the play experience is suitable for the child. Feeling comfortable with the activities enables children to integrate better and faster in the social environment they are interacting with and learn what they actually want to learn. Furthermore, every child is assigned a member of the staff that makes sure that the needs of the child are met. If a child has certain disabilities or allergies, the staff is capable of addressing the situation occurred swiftly and effectively. A truly well-thought tailor-made innovation that puts emphasis on children’s needs and preferences! | Interested in learning more about the initiative? Click here. |
Government on Childcare
There are various circumstances in which children have to be placed in foster care, the most common being the parents’ inability to raise them. Federal and state governments are charged with aiding these families in their pursuit to meet children’s needs; yet, childcare is not an easy task and there are various parameters that need to be taken into account. From that perspective, country leaders and governments are trying to create new approaches, identify income streams and meet childcare issues with fresh perspectives.
For instance, ‘in 2011, Congress passed and President Obama signed into law the Child and Family Services Improvements and Innovations Act, which made it possible for states to use once-restricted Federal Title IV-E funds on evidence-based and upstream programs, including those providing services to families in crises.’ Addressing human needs involves various means and different stakeholders working together towards a common goal. Design thinking at its finest!
Childcare on Vacation
Many different travel destinations around the globe are trying to tempt parents to visit them using a variety of innovative approaches. Resorts and tourist-based communities comprehend parents’ need for relaxation as well as their desire for their children’s safety and comfort. Four Seasons is a notable hotel brand offering a wide variety of activities for children and nurturing their individual development.
For example, ‘nature-based activities fill the Kids For All Seasons itineraries at Four Seasons Resort Costa Rica at Peninsula Papagayo. Children ages 4 to 12 can embark on excursions at the Resort, where they will often spot howler monkeys, iguanas, hermit crabs, military macaws and mangrove cuckoos. A sanctuary just for teens is staffed with a dedicated Concierge to help them choose from the numerous activities available.’Childcare providers have gone a step further and enhanced their services based on human needs. A well-thought-out social innovation tactic!
Social innovations are present throughout different sectors across the world. Have you ever considered the social innovation methods and design thinking behind the above-mentioned examples? There are ample social innovation scenarios, yet these human-centred practices also remain scarce in many countries worldwide, for different reasons. To tackle this issue, Limitless, together with 4 other partners, has recently started a project aiming to develop the Social Innovation Academy, which will be the first fully online management training programme focusing exclusively on social innovation.
Learn more at Social Innovation Academy
Why Social Innovation Academy? Social innovation is increasingly being perceived as the answer to the rising number of European societal challenges. While the European authorities, leading academics, policy experts, business people and activists agree that social innovation is the key to a better future, it is extremely difficult for professionals to obtain high-quality training on what social innovation offers and, more importantly, how it can be done in practice.
Social Innovation Academy will aim to change this situation in Europe and beyond. If you are interested in keeping up with this project, you can subscribe to our newsletter, become one of our Friends, apply to become a member of our Global Advisory Board or follow us on social media (LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook). We welcome all requests for collaboration here!
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