Dana Asby, CEI Intern
Most parents want more information about parenting, yet 65% of all parents never attend a single class or discussion about parenting (Zepeda, Varela, and Morales, 2004). This may be due to a lack of accessibility with varied causes, including a lack of available programs in locations and at times convenient to the family. Most programs occur in the middle of the working day, so working parents cannot take advantage of them (Zepeda, Varela, and Morales, 2004). Peace at Home Parenting thinks offering live parent education workshops online, after most children’s bedtime, and from a variety of cultural perspectives might be one solution to this problem.
Dana Asby, CEI Intern
Many parents, especially first time parents, have low levels of self-efficacy in parenting. In fact, 79% of parents want more information about child-rearing (Zepeda, Varela, and Morales, 2004). Parent education programs typically involve a parent educator conducting a series of classes or workshops with new parents or parents experiencing certain contexts that can be risk-factors to responsive parenting. They have generally been proven to be effective in improving the parental skills toolbox, especially parental responsiveness (Votruba-Drzal and Dearing, 2017). Many early childhood programs offer parent education programs; however, the demands on a parent’s time and interest are often too great to retain parents for multiple sessions. One solution to this problem is to offer parent education workshops online at times that are convenient for parents. There is evidence that using technology in parent education may be more cost-effect and reach more parents (Magnuson & Schindler, 2016).
By EKATERINE TCHELIDZE
Chronicle Staff Writer
Coventry Youth Services Coordinator Crystal Morawitz said this is the first time Peace at Home Parenting offered the program to the town. “I thought it was too great of an opportunity to pass on it,” she said. Morawitz purchased access to the entire program so town residents could benefit from it for free. Otherwise they would have to pay for each class separately, she said.
The online classes start Saturday and continue through Aug. 31, offering lectures on various topics that parents might find helpful. Topics include the neuroscience of early childhood, raising children with special needs, talking to teens about safety and how to be a role model for children, among others.
Topics for classes derive from parent interest, said social worker Ruth Freeman, founder of Peace at Home Parenting. Freeman will teach most classes along with two guest speakers — Aaron Weintraub, director of Kids Cooperate special education school in Tolland, and JoAnn Robinson, member of the board of directors of the Connecticut Association for Infant Mental Health.
Freeman has been teaching parenting lessons for three decades, but gave her classes a digital spin only recently.
“It’s much harder for parents to get out for parenting classes now they have busier schedules,” Freeman said. “This way they can listen to classes on the phone or watch on the computer.”
Apart from Coventry, Freeman said Ashford, Chaplin, Ellington, Mansfield, Tolland and Windham also subscribed to the program. “It’s great because it’s free and parents can do it in the comfort of their own home,” Morawitz said.
Those unable to watch live-streamed lectures can access recorded videos later at their convenience. “I think removing a lot of those obstacles and barriers makes it more accessible to parents,” Morawitz said. “The flexibility, I think, is a key for parents who are juggling a lot these days.”
As long as the program remains an option for Coventry, she will continue to offer it to residents, Morawitz said.
“It’s a great opportunity, a great resource and a great asset,” she said
- To get the access code, email Morawitz at firstname.lastname@example.org or Freeman at email@example.com.
- For live classes and access to recordings, visit www.peaceathomeparenting. com.
Copyright (c)2017 Chronicle Media LLC 7/7/2017
Coventry offers online classes for local parents
Friday, 07/07/2017 Pag.04