Helping Parents to Parent

Parents of the preschoolers enrolled in St. Mary's Center Preschool face unique challenges most new parents never have to consider: gunfire, homelessness, drug addiction, poverty, being a single parent, and more. In order to ensure our preschoolers are able to grow up in the strongest possible household, we began parent education circles.

These education circles bring preschool parents together in order to learn parenting and life skills in a supportive environment. These circles also create a safe space for parents to discuss their unique struggles and find strength in their community.

Two of our preschool parents, L'Angelique and Guadalupe, befriended each other in these classes and have since found strength and support in their friendship. They both describe it as "therapy without therapy".

Because of its "what is said in the group is kept in the group" rule, parents feel they can discuss issues without judgment; as Guadalupe explains, "It helps us out. We talk about things we don't usually talk about [elsewhere]." L'Angelique continues, "We work through our daily frustrations without being judged and being able to be honest has allowed people to give me advice."

And this is the type of feedback driving Preschool Director, Quinetta Lewis to continue the program and develop additional modules for parents. As she puts it, "If we can teach the parent, we can help the child. Parents are the first teachers."

In the upcoming months, Parent Education classes will cover topics including Building Healthy Relationships, Financial Education, Having a Healthy Lifestyle, and the most recent module, Discipline.

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