New service for parents
TWEED Heads South's Family Centre believes the first three years of a child's life are critical for its future success.
With this in mind one of its newest services ParentSpace started on Friday and will continue during four fortnightly sessions at the centre.
Family Services manager Nicole Julien said the program was designed to maximise the impact parents have as children's first and most influential teachers.
"ParentSpace helps parents learn what to look for and expect as children develop and ways to help children grow to their full potential.
"It provides parents with knowledge and realistic expectations of age-appropriate developmental milestones and behaviours, information about parenting topics, such as discipline, sibling relationships and toilet learning, and other ways that parents can support their children's development and learning.
"Working with the parents of very young children promotes children's readiness for school and helps set children on the path for a good school experience."
Pauline Alexander of Tweed Heads said a Family Centre worker who had visited her at home invited her to Friday's session.
"We've just sat around and had a little play and a chat about what our bubs have been doing."
Mrs Alexander said her five month old baby Chloe had enjoyed "watching the pages turning" during story time, and "chewing on horses".
Chloe is revealing herself to be a very chatty, inquisitive and involved child, she said.
"She wants to find out things for herself, and gets frustrated when she can't do something.
"Chloe is my first child, and motherhood has been a little bit challenging but enjoyable - I wouldn't change a thing.
"The Family Centre helps at whatever stage and milestone of Chloe's life."
ParentSpace is based on the internationally renowned model Parents as Teachers Born to Learn.
This mantra is strongly evidenced to be effective in helping parents understand more about the importance of physical stimulation in their child's development and appropriate discipline.
Ms Julien said as a result children showed better language skills, were more likely to be reading-ready by kindergarten and had better social skills.
"ParentSpace has two components which parents of children zero-three years can be involved with: group meetings and home visits.
"Discussion topics and child-led play sessions include: Story Fun - Hairy Maclary story and crafts; Eating battles - Food and nutrition for our children; From babbling to fluency; and Exploring the craft box."
Home visits were also important, she said.
"These personal visits focus on providing parents with information, educational experiences and practical activities that promote babies and young children's growth and development."
Phone 07 5524 8711 between 9am and 12.30pm weekdays to register your interest.