Tuesday, June 25, 2013

What is Parent Education?

When the Assembly Education committee meets tomorrow, and considers SB 173, which excludes funding for Parent Education and Older Adults, that's an important question to ask.

Better yet, what is Parent Education as part of the Adult Education system?

And remember, we have to ask that question while keeping in mind that in California, Adult Education is delivered two ways.

It is mostly delivered by K12 Adult Schools.

But in a few places, including San Francisco, Adult Ed is delivered by the Community College Districts.  Their "non-credit" programs are Adult Education. 

Okay, so back to our question, what is Parent Education in California's Adult Education system?

Hit the "read more" link to find out - and to find out why it's important.

The CDE - California Department of Education - on their CalEdFacts page,
defines Parent Education in Adult Ed as

Parenting, Family, and Consumer Awareness—Classes that promote the healthy development of children, high-quality family relationships, and children’s success in school. Classes in this program help individuals and families meet the challenges of daily living through health and financial literacy to improve the quality of home and family life.

In my experience, Adult Ed Parent Education

* helps adults care for children in the best way possible.
* includes parent-participation programs where parents and young children learn and play together
* includes classes for adults which increase their parenting and caregiving skills
* includes classes which meet the requirements for court-mandated parent education classes

I say "adults" care for children because children are cared for not only by parents but also by extended family and caregivers.  Anyone can take a Parent Education class - and many people should.

Parent Education increases  

School success
Family stability
High School completion

Parent Education decreases

BMI in children
Family destabilization and crisis
Risk for suicide and self-harm in adolescents
High School drop-out rate
Juvenile arrest

With such good results, why would we as a people not want an affordable, accessible parent education program available to all parents and caregivers, be they grandparents, extended family members, or whoever helps shape that child into the adult that will carry our culture forward tomorrow?

In the past five years, K12 Adult Education was devastated.  Parent Education and Older Adult programs were hit the worst.  Many programs were closed and many programs which were once free are now fee-based.  But there are still many good examples of Parent Education Adult Ed programs. 

Here are a few:

Jefferson Adult School, in Daly City:

Jefferson Adult Education Education believes that parents are children's most important teachers and that at every stage of development there are challenges and feelings of satisfaction. To help adults be effective in raising and guiding children, we offer a variety of options for parenting education.
* Parent Cooperative Ed:  Village Nursery School Site
At the Village Nursery School Site, adults

*  Actively contribute to their child’s educational experience by working one morning per week at school.
  • Learn more effective parenting skills.
  • Experience the support of other parents through group discussions.
  • Learn how to deal with many different aspects of child development: aggressiveness, shyness, learning disabilities, sibling rivalry, regression, temper tantrums, separation anxiety, etc.
  • Learn what they can do at home to help prepare their child for kindergarten
  • At Village, we place a strong emphasis on parent education. Parents are encouraged to discipline with understanding and respect for the children, guiding them toward kind and responsible behavior through the use of positive language. The children are encouraged to always do their best and to feel confident in their abilities.

    While their children
    • Learn to enjoy art and music.
    • Learn to play and share with each other.
    • Learn the independent skills of eating, dressing, and toileting.
    • Healthy Snacks
    • Learn to express their feelings.
    • Develop their fine and gross motor skills.
    • Learn about basic health and safety issues.
    • Learn pre-academic skills in our Pre-K program (kindergarten readiness).
    • Develop an understanding of individual differences and cultural diversity.
    • Learn that school is a safe place to be, where you can learn and have fun at the same time.
    Jefferson Adult School also offers
    *   Parenting Topics for Adults: Tuesdays 4:30-5:30 PM GED Center. 
            This is an individualized course that meets the 5-unit requirement for HS Diploma.
    Conejo Valley Adult School, in Southern California,
    is another example of a strong Parent Ed Program.
    Like Jefferson Adult School, they have parent-participation programs.
    They also have a Parent Support Group, which they describe this way:
    Parent Service Group (PSG)
    The Parent Service Group (PSG), also known as Parent Support Group, of The Parenting Program provides an opportunity for students to actively utilize their leadership skills, and/or contribute special talents and resources. The PSG is comprised of teachers, administrators and active students. Involvement in PSG opens the door for students wishing to understand what it takes to participate within the Conejo Valley Unified School District parent/teacher organizations such as PTA, PFA or School Site Council. With common goals in mind, students and teachers work together to provide enriching, exciting and educational events for families enrolled in The Parenting Program. Download color brochure Parenting Program & Preschool at Horizon Hills.
    PSG meetings are held once a month, and many opportunities for participation are available, from being a class PSG representative, to an event committee chairperson! By being part of the PSG, students become familiar with the staff and teachers, as well as parents from different classrooms. Many of the student friendships that are formed in the PSG last well beyond the preschool years.
    Read our Parent Support Group Newsletter for latest news:
    May 2013 issue.
    Links for you...
    Parenting ProgramCVAE

    San Mateo Adult School once had a strong Parent Education Program, including a parent-participation program, a Saturday series offered in partnership with the Four Cs (Childcare Coordinating Council of San Mateo County), and in-person classes for parents of both young children and teens.  After years of budget cuts, including the end of all Saturday classes, it now has only a much needed and appreciated Distance Learning Parent Education program.

    A photo from the now-no-longer SMAS Learn Through Play Class

    CCSF, in San Francisco, also offered non-credit parent participation programs.  I have tried to find out, online, if they still do, and to be honest, I can't wade through their website and find out.  I will try to get an actual brochure and look through it.  But note to CCSF, if an Adult Ed teaching San Francisco resident can't wade through your site and find these classes, some tweaks are needed!  I can tell you that the classes they offered in the past were terrific.  I know - I took some them!   (Before the dotcom boom when you had to use the actual brochure to find things.)

    Adult Education has a two year window to prepare for the new Regional Consortia (K12 Adult Schools, Community Colleges, Correctional Facilities, and other agencies) delivery system.

    During these two years, the Regional Consortia must assess both the current needs for Adult Education and the current offerings.

    Where existing programs serve a need, it is important that we maintain and expand them, if needed.

    Where much-needed programs were closed, it is important that we create new ones.

    As partners in this process, we need to share information with each other. 

    Each other being both branches of Adult Ed - K12 Adult Schools and CC non-credit

    and the public and the Regional Consortia planning committees.

    What are the needs in your community for Parent Education?

    Are these needs currently met?  If so, how?

    If they are not currently met, were they met in the past?  And by a K12 Adult School or CC non-credit program?

    These are our communities we are talking about.  Our needs.  Our children.  Our future.

    As I find out where and how the planning is taking place, I will be sure to share that here.

    Because we darn sure we need to be part of it.  This is our people and our future we're talking about!

    More information:

    The Value of Free Parent Education Classes


    First Five

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