New series of classes to be offered at Family Resource Center

When you’re a parent, you can use all the help you can get, and the South Whidbey Family Resource Center and the Readiness to Learn Foundation are ready to oblige.

“Parenting With a Plan,” a series of three workshops, is scheduled on successive Tuesdays this month at the resource center, behind the primary school at 5476 Maxwelton Road.

“The classes will provide simple strategies for parents that are based on research,” said Polly Z. Schmitt of Clinton, a longtime educator who will conduct the sessions.

“They work, and they won’t be overwhelming,” she said.

The free workshops, geared to the parents of children ages 2 to 8, will be from 6 to 8 p.m. on March 9, 16 and 23. A free dinner will be served at 5:30 p.m., and free childcare will be provided on request.

On March 9, “Power Struggles at Home” will focus on situations that can arise, and strategies that may be effective in confrontations between parents and childen.

On March 16, “Problem Solving 101” will focus on helping young children solve everyday problems on their own. Participants will discuss reasonable expectations in helping children to become independent.

On March 23, “Helping Children Resolve Social Conflicts” will look at that conflict as an opportunity for young children to develop problem-solving skills and strategies.

“The focus is on helping children solve everyday problems independently, build in success and relieve some of the tension that goes along with parenting in common, stressful situations,” Schmitt said.

For more information or to register, call 221-6808, ext. 4602.

For the remainder of the school year, organizers hope to put together a final series of weekly classes beginning in April, said Marilynn Norby, student and family advocate for the Readiness to Learn Foundation.

All the workshops and classes offered by the Family Resource Center are made possible by grants from the Children’s Trust Foundation and Northwest Children’s Fund, Norby said.

“We normally survey parents to find out what they want, but this time everything came together, so we thought we’d put it out there,” Norby said of the latest series of workshops.

The Readiness to Learn Foundation was organized in 1996 to coordinate efforts between schools, families and communities “to address the needs of the whole child,” said Gail LaVassar, director.

Although all families are welcome to participate in the program, more than 85 percent of families served are living at or below the federal poverty level, LaVassar said.

Besides the parenting classes and workshops, the foundation provides low-income students with direct support through the Back to School project each fall, and through the Holiday House gift drive each winter, LaVassar said.

“Deliberate outreach is made to families struggling with poverty, homelessness, or with students at risk of academic failure,” she said.

For details or to volunteer, call LaVassar at 221-6808, ext. 4320.

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