Kerry CYPSC has established a Parenting & Early Years Working Group. The work to date has focussed on identifying and coordinating parenting programmes and family learning opportunities for parents in Kerry.
Initiatives undertaken include: the coordination and delivery of the Kerry Language & Play Programme 2014-2016; the provision of Parents Plus Facilitator Training for Hard to Reach Communities; the delivery of Non-Violent Resistance Training for front-line practitioners; and the implementation of the Tusla CFA Parenting Support Champions initiative in Kerry.
Membership of the Parenting & Early Years Working Group
Membership of the Parenting & Early Years Working Group includes representation from both statutory and community and voluntary organisations including: HSE Public Health Nursing; HSE Community Parents; Kerry County Childcare Committee; Kerry Parents Support Champions; Tusla Child & Family Agency; Kerry Diocesan Youth Service; Kerry Network of FRCs; North & East Kerry Development Partnership; South Kerry Development Partnership; and An Garda Síochána.
The main objectives of the Parenting & Early Years Working Group are to ensure:
- All children will be cared for in a loving, supportive, caring home environment which supports their social, emotional, cognitive, and intellectual development
- All children will be school ready on day 1 of primary school
- All young people will be prepared well to be caring, supportive, and loving parents
The main function of the group is to support the coordination and provision of parenting and family learning programmes for parents of children aged 0 – 18 years old across county Kerry. The Parenting & Early Years Working Group has agreed the following priority outcomes to ensure that all children are ‘school ready’; all young people are ‘life ready’; and all parents are ‘child ready’:
- Parenting: To support the coordination and geographic spread of universal and targeted evidence-based high-quality parenting/family learning programmes
- To provide information about and support parents and ‘pre-parents’ to access evidence-based parenting programmes and other family programmes
- Training: To support access to quality training for those who work with children and families
- Early Years: Build positive networks around parents of young children through the support of the language and play programmes which will in turn allow linkage to additional community supports
- Children are school ready and supported at home – English language supports for children and parents whose first language is not English in pre-school, to promote school readiness
- Support the transition of travellers from pre-school to primary and primary to secondary school
Kerry CYPSC was funded by the Katharine Howard Foundation/Community Foundation of Ireland under its Parenting Support Initiative Programme to coordinate and deliver the Language & Play Programme in Kerry over 3 years between 2014 and 2016. As a result, 45 Language & Play Programmes were delivered to 38 parent and toddler groups in addition to Train the Trainer Workshops to build a ‘bank’ of new Language & Play Programme facilitators in Kerry.
The Language & Play Programme is aimed at parents and carers of children aged 0-3 years. The programme is run over 6 weeks (6 x 90-minute interactive workshops) and encourages parents to interact and play with their children in a positive way to promote and stimulate their child’s language and numeracy development, including increasing their range of words and vocabulary. The programme also promotes a strong healthy relationship with parent and child through fun activities.
The aims of the programme are:
- To foster parents’ confidence in their ability to support their child’s early years development
- To improve literacy and numeracy development in children in their early years
- To encourage and explore communication and methods of play
- To highlight the importance of storytelling, nursery rhymes, songs, and sharing books
- To prepare children for learning when they start pre-school through developing their social and fine motor skills
The 6 themes/topics covered in the Language & Play Programme workshops include:
- The Importance of Talk – Lots of tips for speaking and listening to your child using treasure baskets and quality play stimulation, to promote the importance of early communication
- Routines – Ideas on how to include your child in routines; give good clear instructions and develop early self-help skills
- Out and About – Focusing on the world outside, making the most of car journeys, shopping, and daily outings
- Books and Story Telling – Opening the world of books to you and your child. Endless ideas on using props, making books and sharing books and stories
- Songs and Rhymes – Promoting the use of song and rhyme as a powerful early literacy tool, by sharing rhyme and song using puppets
- Mark Making – Introducing learning to write as a process identifying the importance of scribble
Parents Plus Early Years Facilitator Training for Hard to Reach Communities
This initiative was developed in order to improve the participation of marginalised communities in parenting support programmes in the county. 18 Parents Plus Early Years facilitators from traveller and migrant communities were trained to deliver the PPEY programme to members of their own communities. Facilitators are usually supported by PPEY facilitators from local FRCs or by PHNs.
Non-Violent Resistance (NVR) Training
NVR training was delivered to 65 front-line practitioners to help address child to parent violence in the home.