The Shaw Center for Children and Families is a dynamic facility which is home to many different research projects. Our faculty, staff, and students partner with several other departments within the University, as well as with organizations in the community. Although our projects are diverse, they all have one thing in common, which is to help support and build stronger families. We work with families from a wide array of background in order to understand their lives. Gaining knowledge from their individual stories allows us to positively impact future generations of families.
We would like to broaden our play areas to appeal to children of all ages and ability levels. These areas are aimed at younger children and we have been unable to adapt these areas for older teens. We have also become successful in conducting research with families who have children with disabilities such as autism. Children with sensory issues thrive in play areas that are specifically designed for their needs. The donations that we receive from ND Day will go to upgrade our play areas and make them friendly for everyone that walks in our doors.
The Shaw Center for Children and Families is a family friendly environment, not only for the staff, but for the families that join us in our research projects. Our goal is to create a place that feels safe and supportive to families as we ask them to share with their unique stories. When parents feel comfortable that their children are safe and cared for, they tend to feel more relaxed, and open to sharing their personal stories. At our Center, there are a few areas available for children to play or to hang out with a caregiver while their parents are working with a staff member. These play areas are comprised of toys and furniture which have been handed down or donated. Our staff and students have done a great job using their combined creative skills to make the most out of these donated items. However, our intent is to insure that the family experience reflects the highest quality in support of Notre Dame’s mission to be one of the world’s premier research universities. We believe that children will become more engaged in an environment that is contemporary and fun, and they will be more willing to return to compete their part of a research project. When children are more willing to return, their parents are more likely to continue their participation as well.