Parent University is a parent-training curriculum that increases responsive parenting and developmental knowledge through parent/child interaction and didactic parent group. We are working with families with children from birth to age 3 and have served 63 families in the past three years. Parent University consists of three main components:
- Family-style breakfast served by Parent University staff and volunteers
- Parent/child play interaction such as circle time, dialogic reading, and child-centered play
- Parent education through various community partners, e.g., attachment, development, asthma, home safety, safe sleep, etc.
As each family graduates from Parent University, they are encouraged to enroll their child in Early Head Start or Head Start, as appropriate. Additional resources may be recommended depending on each family’s situation. A few parents have asked to return to subsequent cycles as a volunteer or parent mentor. In our fall 2013 cycle, three Parent University graduates are co-leading or volunteering. Two of those parents were provided with specialized training and are working with Ms. Liggett-Creel on early childhood programming for caregivers residing in and professionals working in the Promise Heights area. Other program outcomes include:
- 19% decrease in parent report of feeling extremely stressed
- 12.3% improvement in the parent’s ability to positively reinforce, play supportively and affectionately with their child
- 34.3% improvement in the parent’s willingness to offer richly stimulating experiences at a developmentally appropriate level for the child.
- 13.5% improvement in the child’s ability to send cues to elicit behavioral modifications in the parent.
- 26.2% improvement in the child’s ability to read and respond to the parent
We’re so pleased to hear from parents that the Parent University curriculum is meeting their needs. One graduate told us,
“Sometimes walking in a door is just walking in a door. Other times walking in a door changes your life. That is what Parent University has done for us…it has changed our life.”
Another graduate from Parent University heard traumatizing news during one of the sessions. She came back the next week and said that as horrible as it was to hear the news she was glad that she found out with her Parent University family.
Britney Pitts, LGSW