Working as a teacher at Liaoning Provincial Orphan School for over a decade, Gao Chao has developed close relationships with her students, with many of the more than 100 boys and girls affectionately referring to her as "mother".
"Most of the children here are delicate and sensitive. If they recognize you, they will call you 'mother'," said Gao. As a mother herself, she knows the importance of family education for young children.
Founded in 1965, the school is a social welfare institution integrating nine-year compulsory education and secondary vocational education.
In accordance with the welfare policy of the Liaoning Provincial Department of Civil Affairs on orphans, the school educates orphans in 14 cities across the province.
Xu Lijie, vice-principal of the school, said that the nearly 1,000 students are either orphans, homeless or have disabilities.
"They are eager for love because of various misfortunes. These experiences might have left indelible scars," Xu said. "This means more is needed of us."
In 2012, the Liaoning provincial government issued a document establishing the living security system for orphans. Then in 2019, the province's departments of civil affairs and finance issued documents to improve the basic living standards of orphans.
The current living-cost standard for orphans is 1,900 yuan ($273) per person per month.
"We are not only a school, but also a home for these children," explained Liang Lixin, the school's headmaster.
"Our focus is to provide suitable education for each orphan. Schools should care for children and create favorable conditions for their growth and future.
"The principle of our school is to help find a suitable path for each student according to their characteristics," Liang added.
Among the core subjects, the school also teaches art, calligraphy, dance and basketball to provide students with a more varied educational experience.
The school pays special attention to mental health education and counseling for students.
Each student is assigned a teacher to provide guidance and care in study and life. The teachers also pay close attention to their psychological conditions at all times in order to give them a sense of home.
Li Mofei contributed to this story.