Shanghai will build at least 50 non-profit and affordable nurseries for children under 3 years old each year and have at least half of the 1,670 existing kindergartens offer nursing services by 2022, compared with 30 percent now, authorities told a news conference on Wednesday.
The announcement was part of the city’s first three-year plan (2020-2022) for developing nursing services.
“Children under 3 years old are the softest group in a society and good nursing services matter for children’s healthy growth, the wellbeing of all families and the improvement of life quality in the city,” said Chen Qun, vice mayor of Shanghai.
In previous years, Shanghai has released three documents on regulating nurseries. It structured a system that is dominated by parenting at families with instructions provided by communities. It also encourages social participation in building up more non-profit and affordable nurseries and kindergartens with nursing classes.
The new action plan aims at enhancing the development of nursing services for children under 3 to meet increasing and diversified demand along with relaxed family planning policies and changing population size and structure.
Chen said a key task in the action plan is to increase supplies of affordable nursing resources and promote integration education, raising and medical care when taking care of children under 3.
“There has been a high demand for affordable nursing services of high quality and security,” Chen said. “We will integrate more quality resources and mobilize social power in the next three years to further increase supplies.”
Chen said the city government had listed building 50 affordable nurseries as one of its annual projects for improving people’s wellbeing since 2017.
“In the following three years, we will continue to build at least 50 such facilities each year and encourage governments at all levels to provide venues or waive rentals to support communities, enterprises, industrial zones and office buildings to set up non-profit and affordable nurseries,” he said, adding that 49 such facilities completed construction this year.
He said the city will also strive to achieve its goal of building at least one affordable nursery in one subdistrict or town in the downtown area. By the end of 2022, the target is to have such nurseries cover at least 85 percent of subdistricts and towns around the city.
The city will continue promoting integration of nurseries with kindergartens. It aims at having half of the existing kindergartens in the city equipped with nurseries by 2022. Currently, the portion is 30 percent.
“So more public kindergartens should open nursing classes after meeting demands for kindergarten education from local residents,” said Chen. “We will also work out favorable policies to encourage more private kindergartens to set up nursing classes to benefit more families.”
Chen said the government will encourage more enterprises, social organizations and individuals to set up professional and high-quality nurseries. It will also integrate resources in communities to build up children-friendly communities and child service centers to serve nearby families.
The city will also provide more instruction on parenting for families.
“Families are the main places where children grow up, so it’s important to help parents develop scientific parenting ideas,” Chen said. “In the following three years, experts will visit families to give instructions, organize parent-child activities and deliver lectures online and offline to serve families with children of different age groups.”
In the next three years, each subdistrict and town will set up a center to guide families in child care and provide at least six offline instruction services each year to families in need, including one door-to-door service. Eighteen child development bases will be built up around the city to promote scientific knowledge and skills in baby care and health care services.
Enterprises are also encouraged to adopt practices such as flexible working schedule to enable parents to spend more time on child care and organize training to assist parents to go back to work after full-time parenting.