The global boom in flexible working has seen the growth of co-working spaces with on-site childcare in countries such as the US and the UK. Spaces such as Third Door in London and The Wing in New York give parents a hot desk to work at while their pre-school children play and learn under the same roof.
International schools in Singapore are going one step further – and offering co-working spaces to parents with children aged four through to 18 years. They're designing new spaces with parents in mind, and offering meeting rooms, desks, private cubicles and other working facilities (as well, of course, as a place to buy coffee). Several schools in the Red Dot are home to parent cafes, which become a popular meeting point at drop off and pick-up – but could (and should) schools also become a place for parents to work?
Tanglin Trust will be launching a parent co-working space within its new Centenary Tower, due to open in September.
“Parents need, not just a place to have a cup of coffee or sit and do some emails, but maybe a space to have a meeting. I think it really caters to our diverse community,” says Cecilia Handel, Tanglin’s Director of Development.
The coworking space is one of several new parent spaces within the school, including viewing areas for swimming and other sports activities and a larger parent café, which is already hugely popular with parents waiting between infant and junior pick-ups or during CCAs.
It’s spaces like these that can help to build a school community. And, while Covid-19 restrictions have meant that parents have been unable to go beyond the gates, the school hopes that it can soon offer new families the opportunity to meet other parents face to face. Ms Handel adds:
“New parents have missed that opportunity for encounters with other parents. These new spaces will give them a plethora of opportunity to meet other parents and help embed their children within the Tanglin community.”
Nexus International School will soon be opening a co-working facility for parents who need a working space in Singapore. It plans to have meeting rooms and cubicles where mums and dads can work after the school drop-off; parents can also use the school's Eco Cafe – all when Covid-19 restrictions allow.
In 2016, Trehaus opened a combined co-working space and playgroup for children up to three years at Claymore Connect mall in Orchard Road. Parents who enrol their children into Trehaus School can gain access to its on-site business centre.
Trehaus co-founder and CEO Dr Elaine Kim says:
“The world is changing. Working parents of today don’t want to have to choose between career and family, and with Trehaus, they don’t have to. They don’t have to be bound to an office desk away from their children from 9 to 6, and miss out on being present in their children’s fleeting first years.
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