The structure of the parenting education classes provides learning experiences for the parent at both the practical and theoretical levels. You will be involved in not only the preschool clinical component, where you will interact with the children, but you will also participate in lecture groups with your parent educator. Although in the infant classes (prenatal-infant and pre-toddler) both lecture and clinical may appear to take place simultaneously each week, in all other classes half of the parents supervise the children’s activities while the other half participate in parenting education. Parenting education lectures take place during free play for toddler and 1 day groups and during outdoor play for 3 day and pre-k classes.
Parenting Education Clinic
During the preschool clinical portion of the day, you supervise the children as they are learning through free play and other parts of their preschool routine. This provides you with an opportunity to practice the principles of child guidance you are learning and to observe your child and his/her peers.
Good supervision means letting the children learn by experiencing the materials provided and using them in their own way, and taking time to observe before interjecting comments or questions. To effect an optimum learning environment for the children and a comfortable role for the parents, limits are consistent not only within each class but also throughout the preschool. These specific Guidance Principles are in the yellow pages of this handbook. Your parent educator will discuss them in depth the first weeks of preschool so that you will feel secure in your role. Daily schedules are also in the yellow pages.
Parenting Education Lecture
Every other week a portion of your day at preschool will be spent participating in a parenting education lecture and group seminar with your parent educator, discussing specific topics listed on the course syllabus and relevant to your needs as a parent. In preparation for this group you will need to complete specific reading and other assignments. Parents who have thoroughly prepared for parenting education in this way feel that their increased learning is well worth the effort.
In your parenting education seminar you will have the opportunity to explore the application of what you have read and to offer other concerns which you may have about your child or your parenting. The quality of the seminar will be determined to a large degree by the extent to which all of the participants have prepared for class by completing assignments and relating them to daily parenting experiences.
If you are repeating a parenting education course, you are asked to continue to deepen your parenting skills by reading from the For Further Reading section of the syllabus and orally sharing that information with your seminar group in a five-minute “book report.” Your reading may be a book or five articles. You also have the option of writing for the online blog on a topic approved by your parent educator; you may choose to write about your child’s experience in the classroom or on our outdoor playscape, or your child may wish to dictate something about his/her school experience. In any case, each quarter persons repeating a class must submit a written description of their completed assignment to their parent educator prior to the last date of the quarter. Quarterly beginning and ending dates may be found on the school calendar on the preschool website or in the pink pages of this handbook.
Like the children’s curriculum, the parenting education curriculum is also developmental. It is designed to meet most of the needs and concerns of parents at the approximate times that they normally arise. These issues are keyed to your development as a parent as well as to the developmental stages of children from birth to kindergarten. Parenting education textbooks are selected based on current theory and research in child development and related fields, providing a foundation from which to extract sound principles of guidance and communication. Quality parenting education seeks to recommend specific child rearing practices with research- demonstrated, positive results.
The parenting education curriculum is written in a five-year sequence in order to cover issues that naturally arise when you are the parent of a child growing from birth to kindergarten. All classes include a review of developmental stages children will typically go through during the ensuing year, along with aspects of development and guidance appropriate to those stages. Following is the specific focus of each class:
|Prenatal-Infant and Pre-Toddler:||How can I best develop my relationship with my baby?
What do I need to know about infant and pre-toddler development?
What are sources of support for parents during this stage?
|Toddler:||How do I become the parent that I want to be?
What can I expect of my toddler?
How do I help my toddler through routines such as eating, sleeping, and toileting?
What is the best way to handle my toddler’s emotions?
|1 Day:||What is guidance?
How can I use guidance strategies to be a better parent?
How do guidance strategies make me a more effective teacher of my own child and other children?
How do I help children resolve conflicts?
|3 Day:||How do young children learn best?
What does appropriate early childhood curriculum look like?
How can I best support my child’s learning, both cognitively and socially?
How can I incorporate effective learning strategies at home?
|Pre-K:||How can I be a mentor parent?
What strategies will help me develop a good long-term relationship with my child?
How do I prepare my child and myself for kindergarten?