A Synth's childhood is, much like the childhood experienced by organics, the period of time between birth and adulthood during which a large part of an individual's personality and skills are developed. Synths do not reproduce sexually and therefore don't need to give birth to children in the same way organics do. However, since it is of high importance that Synths and organics have similar life experiences, their childhoods are also designed to be similar. The best way to further empathy and understanding between organics and synthetics is for both of them to grow up together.
Since Synths don't reproduce sexually, there is no need for conception, pregnancy or birth in the traditional sense. Instead the term conception in relation to Synths is typically used to describe the time during which one or two Synths (or organics) discover that they would like to raise a Synth child. Even though there is no genetic connection between the parent(s) and the child, they are still considered the child's "parents", due to the parental role they agree to play in the child's life. The first step into parenthood is a bureaucratic one: One or two parents need to apply for a free parenting slot at a local administrative office. This has to do with the historically limited amount of resources available in the Outer Rim and the fact that its entire society evolved out of the effects of population numbers being going of control. Due to the high life expectency throughout the Outer Rim, it is relatively rare that old people die and make room for young people, so the number of yearly births had to be limited historically to not overburden the Outer Rim's originally sparse resources, such as food or energy. During times of starvation the last thing a society can take is more mouths to feed. In recent years this limitation on the number of permitted births has come under criticism and scrutiny, since the Outer Rim entered a period of plenty during which there has been no more need to worry about sparse resources. This leads to applications for parenting slots being approved almost immediately, making this particular rule seem outdated and unnecessary. Debates on legal reforms are ongoing. More background information about this can be found in the History of the Outer Rim. Once an application for a parenting slot has been approved, production of a new Synth goes underway.
When speaking of birth in relation to Synths, this usually refers to a pre-manufactured Synth body being activated and infused with a mind.
Synth bodies are manufactured following strict requirements and rules. Every planet, colony or settlement within the Outer Rim is required to stock a minimum number of Synth bodies, ready for activation. They can be manufactured by subcontractors and local manufacturers, or can be sourced from other settlements, should local manufacturing not be sufficiently advanced. Manufacturers have to be licensed and certified to produce new Synth bodies and are only allowed to produce limited numbers to maintain the stocks of settlements. Synth bodies are required to follow a default blueprint that allows for minor changes and variations made by the parents. When Synth bodies are built, they are constructed at roughly the size of a two year old organic child. They are stored by curling them up in an egg shape, giving them an egg-like appearance until their mind is sparked.
Synth brains start off with no mind in it. They offer a framework in which a mind can be sparked and developed. The sparking of the mind is the moment a Synth becomes conscious and their life begins. Minds are sparked using personality traits found in the minds of the Synth's parents, if they so choose. For this they can undergo a brain scan, which generates a seed. The seeds generated from the parents are then used in the mind sparking process to create a seed based on the parents' personalities. This imbibes the resulting mind with traits from both parents, making it vaguely analogous to the way genetic traits are given to offspring in organic reproduction. Once a Synth body has been chosen and their mind seed has been generated, the brain is infused with the mind seed and the body is activated at a local clinic. This sparks the mind into existence. At this point the Synth is alive and is ready to be taken home by the parents to start a new life and grow up.
From early on Synths have to learn many things. Just like organics, they have to learn how to control their bodies and become familiar with their surroundings. The first years of a Synth's development are about learning and play, as well as physical growth. To make the process of growth analogue to that of organics, they grow at roughly the same rate, allowing them to grow up together and learn at the same rate as well. Key elements of everyday life are learned during this early stage, in particular how to control their bodies and move about. Young Synths are clumsy in the use of their bodies and have to learn how to properly walk upright. As these neural connections in their brains form, they become more skilled in their movements over time. Speech is also learned through interaction with others, especially the Synth's parents. Synths don't have any knowledge infused into their brains. All their skills and knowledge come from the same learning process organics have to go through as well, except for certain reflexes and urges that are hardwired into them. Play is, just as it is for organics, the most common and accessible way for a Synth to aquire skills.
They will get the urge to seek out food their bodies need for growth, for example and will feel the need to rest after long durations of awakeness. Since this is a stage of rapid physical growth, Synth children tend to prefer carbon heavy food. A large part of their anatomy consists of carbon, so they will crave a lot of it. They also crave a lot of food that is perceived as sweet.
It is common practice to put children in an environment with others, so they can interact and play with each other. Kindergarten, pre-school and any other activities for kids are always mixed between Synths and organics to make them used to each other from early on. This also prepares them for their time in school, when they have to interact with all kinds of species on a daily basis.
School is mandatory for every child, regardless of species. Every level of the education system in the Outer Rim consists of classes of mixed species and gender with no segregation on any level. Education begins with pre-school to prepare kids for their interactions with other kids. Elementary school then teaches reading and writing, basic math and basics in a variety of subjects. The complexity of studied material increases through the various levels of schooling, through middle school and highschool. Mandatory education ends with highschool, with further education being optional and up to the now adult Synth to decide.