Craig A new series of parent education classes will soon be available to area residents.
Connections 4 Kids is opening a Parent Education Center and introducing it to the public from 5 to 7 p.m. on Thursday at the Cherish the Little Things art show. The art show serves as a fundraiser for Connections 4 Kids, and it will be held at the Center of Craig, 601 Yampa Ave., where Connections 4 Kids is located. The new Parent Education Center will be housed there, as well.
Connections 4 Kids is an early childhood council created to provide services and resources for young families. It’s designed “to promote quality early education and quality early childhood care,” said Trish Snyder, Parent Education Center coordinator. The Northwest Colorado Council for Children and Families, created in 2006, was renamed Connections 4 Kids in 2010. It serves Moffat and Rio Blanco counties.
The new Parent Education Center has four classes on tap: Bright by Three, Parents Interacting with Infants, Ready for Kindergarten and Positive Solutions for Families. Snyder, who will facilitate the sessions, said parent-child interaction would occur frequently. The first three, Snyder said, are slated to begin in March. The fourth will begin later.
Snyder said a course such as Bright by Three could help parents better understand the developmental progression of their children, from birth to three years old.
“We want to teach them that there’s a broad spectrum on those developmental milestones,” Snyder said.
Snyder said she hoped the class could help parents to know when they should talk to their pediatricians, and also when they should realize their children’s development is proceeding as it ought to be.
The class Parents Interacting with Infants helps to cultivate close and meaningful interaction between parents and children, Snyder said.
“Get down on the floor with them,” she said. “Get eye to eye contact … Rather than just sitting your child down with a toy, this helps to give them tips on how they can make it more purposeful.”
Ready for Kindergarten, she said, provides toolboxes with age-appropriate puzzles, games and tips.
“It gives (parents) ideas on how to purposefully play with their children at home,” Snyder said.
Positive Solutions for Families involves strategies such as role-playing to nurture parent-child relationships, particularly, according to Connections 4 Kids literature, when "power struggles and challenging behaviors" are involved.
Snyder stressed that the classes are free for families with children up to 8 years old — and that they’re open to all people who are raising young children, whether or not they are the children’s parents.
She noted that the classes could help parents and other guardians receive much-needed support.
“I think they really need support in knowing that they’re doing a good job, that they’re trying,” she said.
Snyder also noted that Connection 4 Kids is partnering with Yampa Valley Autism Program, Mind Springs Health and Northwest Colorado Visiting Nurse Association to offer support groups for the community.
Betsy Overton, executive director of Connections 4 Kids, said several different funders have provided finances for the Parent Education Center. She added that a number of local agency representatives agreed that it would be an asset.
“We were looking at what we needed to do next in the community, and that came to the top of the (list) as something that really needed to be done,” she said.