Parenting education classes provide for learning experiences at both the practical and theoretical levels. Parents participate in not only the preschool “clinical” component where they interact with the children, but also in discussion groups with the parent educator. In the Infant Classes both discussion and clinical 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 “Clinic”
In all classes, parents attend school one day per week; for the multi-day classes this means one-third of the parents attend on each of the class days. During the clinical portion of the day, parents supervise the children as they are learning through free play and other parts of their preschool routine. This provides parents with an opportunity to practice the principles of child guidance they are learning and to observe their children and their peers. Good supervision means letting the children learn by experiencing the materials provided and using them in their own ways, taking time to observe before interjecting comments or questions.
Parenting Education Discussion
Every other week a portion of the parent’s day at preschool will be spent participating in a parenting education seminar with the parent educator, learning about specific topics listed on the course syllabus as well as discussing any issues immediately relevant to parents in the group. In preparation, parents are asked to complete specified reading and other assignments.
The parenting education curriculum is 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 the adults’ development as parents as well as to the developmental stages of children from birth through Pre-K. Parenting education topics are based on current theory and research in child development and related fields.
The parenting education curriculum is written sequentially in order to cover completely the issues arising as a parent of a child growing from birth through Pre-K. Following is the specific focus of each class:
Evening Parent Meetings
Attendance at occasional evening parent meetings is a requirement of membership, once per quarter for single day classes and twice per quarter for multi-day classes. All-school parent meetings include school business as well as a variety of child development topics presented by educational speakers. Parent meetings specifically for the multi-day classes are led by the parent educators and cover topics and issues more relevant to those classroom operations and/or developmental stages of the older children. If it is unavoidable to miss a parent meeting, make-up opportunities are available.