BERLIN — Brown Elementary School was the home to a recent Positive Solutions for Families workshop series brought to the area by Northern Human Services and the Family Resource Center.
The six-week series began in April and wrapped up in late May. Partnering with the Berlin School District, Berlin Head Start and Project Launch, the series attracted 6-12 parents each week. Inspiration for this collaborative effort was a result of the Tillotson-funded Coos Coalition for Young Children and Families, which continues to find ways to improve opportunities for children and families in New Hampshire’s North Country.
“We are so pleased that we had six parents complete the entire series,” exclaimed Ann Tenney of Northern Human Services, “and eight more who attended many of the sessions. It is exciting to have so many partners contribute to this local effort.”
Along with a weekly presentation, parents and grandparents discussed common issues that present persistent challenges for their families. They were introduced to many tips and strategies designed to help parents develop an approach to address these issues. Everyone left each session with homework and reported their successes to the group the next week, along with any questions that arose as they practiced a new skill.
“Being a parent is a tough job! Many parents find themselves struggling with the challenging behavior at some point in time and the good news is that there are evidence-based, effective strategies that anyone can use,” stated Jen Buteau, director of the Family Support Programs at the Family Resource Center.
Robert Thompson, project manager for the Berlin School District’s Project AWARE, Advancing Wellness and Resilience in Education, and the district’s early childhood transition coordinator, Kathy Keene, partnered in the effort. Thompson noted the importance of parents and school staff working together to ensure school readiness, and commented that often barriers to readiness involve delays in children mastering such skills as self-regulation and building positive relationships.
“It’s such a pleasure for the school district to have the opportunity to partner in this nationally renowned series with local professionals who are passionate about their work with families,” said Keene.
“It is important for you to know and understand your child’s abilities and limitations. When you expect too much or too little from your child, it can lead to problems and frustrations for you both,” explained Tenney.
The group learned about “first/then” schedules, task charts and social stories. They talked about how to plan ahead, rephrase requests, and what to do when you “catch your child being good.” Often, parents lingered to continue conversation. They were supplied with a light snack, childcare, workbooks and children’s books that have a social and emotional focus.