International childcare on campus

In August the first ever on-campus childcare centre opened its doors at TU Delft. Called True Colors, it is a joint project with the university to offer a convenient, multicultural option for TU Delft employees and their children.

This multifunctional International Children’s Centre, as collaboration with the International School Delft (ISD), offers daycare for children from ages zero to four and after school care up to 12 years old. And like the ISD, they work with the Primary Years Program curriculum, but adjust it to pre-school age. “Every group of twelve kids has two group leaders a day,” said Regina Stork, manager of True Colors. “One of them speaks Dutch and the other one speaks English with the children. It’s like a two-language-family.”

Daily activities for the children revolve around themes. True Colors staff observes where the interests of the children lie and tailor activities accordingly. Within the themes they attempt to connect to the four elements of nature: earth, fire, air and water. These elements can also be found throughout the childcare facilities. Apart from activities like reading, baking and taking care of a vegetable garden they also have experts who give the children yoga, gym and music lessons. Stork noted that their goal is to teach children with respect and patience to grow up and to get ready for their next step in life.

Support staff
Offering this easy access, tailored service has a direct connection with recruitment and retention efforts at the university. “TU Delft invests in the quality of its staff, to ensure that talented people from different backgrounds enjoy working here and have the opportunity to develop and excel,” said Sarah Benschop of TU Delft HR Development & Mobility. “In order to realise this ambition, we want to support staff who decide to send their children to a child care centre.”

In relation to the HR Excellence in Research Action plan, one of the actions was to investigate the options for childcare on or in the direct vicinity of the campus, said Benschop. This action, an improvement point arising from the TU Delft Roadmap 2020, was the subject of intensive discussion during meetings held between March and November 2011. Conversations involved academic and support staff, students, Works Council representatives and representatives of companies and government organisations that are important to TU Delft. “In sum, what is important for staff members of TU Delft is that our university has a family friendly approach: a safe environment where staff enjoys working and has the opportunity to develop and to excel,” said Benschop.

“A lot of children in our daycare whose parents are working or studying at TU Delft, they are very close to their children,” said Stork. From the university perspective, this bodes well. “TU Delft knows from staff members that having the option of childcare on campus is an important factor,” said Benschop. “It adds to their quality of life, which they find very important in deciding to pursue a career in Delft.”

Although everyone is welcome to the childcare centre, parents who work or study at TU Delft will be given priority when space is limited.

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