What is the best way to combine family and career, and still have enough time and energy for personal development, family and personal growth? The Nordplus project “Parent-to-parent” seeks to find the answer to this question.
The idea behind Parent-to-Parent, an educational and social project focussing on parental education, was created by two moms, Ivita Maurina and Iveta Pavziniuka. The projects main topics are family, career and me. Keeping in mind the educational aspect, the school was the project’s fourth goal, and a debate with parents confirmed the need for it.
Learning by doing
The project has been divided into three stages. Most resources were devoted to the first stage, which involved careful research and an analysis of the current situation regarding parental education. The result was a study entitled “The Situation in Parental Education in Latvia, Lithuania and Estonia”.
In the second stage of the project, the study became the basis for parental education in Latvia. The intention is to create a parental education model that does not involve spending a large amount of money. The concept presupposes that the education process must be organised so that parents are learning by doing, communication with other parents, and sharing experiences. This model has proven to be more effective that sitting through a lecture, and the main emphasis is on the creation of parental education and cooperation centres with self-help groups and various informal education methods. Family plays an important role in this model as the education process involves not only parents, but also children.
The third stage of the project witnessed the development of a pilot programme for group tuition and the instruction of twenty parent-leaders.
The tuition programme in the third stage was divided into two blocks. The first block was led by professional tutors-coaches who taught parents how to establish local centres, as well as several central skills such as how to plan time and set priorities.
The second block tested the “parent-to-parent”-approach, where parents themselves read lectures to each other, led discussions and carried out practical tasks.
The third topic in this block was successful cooperation between parents and schools.
From February until March 2013, parent leaders worked in their local areas handling preliminary activities, before the establishing of the local centres.
Beneficial for both children and parents
Initially, it seemed that parent leaders participated only for the benefit of their children, trying to become better and more informed mums and dads. However, after completing the courses, they were amazed by how much they had profited themselves. The skills and experience they acquired are useful in both children’s education and in maintaining family relationships, as well as in work and communication with others.
All the project materials are available at www.openparents.lv.
To be continued!
Through research on parental education, the project partners the Latvian Parents Movement, the Lithuanian Conflict Prevention Association and Tartu’s educational centre Hea Algus have established contacts with other parenting organisations from Nordic countries.
They have also received confirmation of funding for the second leg of Nordplus, in which their partners will be parenting organisations in Lithuania and Estonia. During this stage, they will implement a pilot project for establishing five centres, as well as continuing to improve the parental education system.