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Parent University: a time to learn

Samantha Thompson, Memorial Co-Editor-in-Chief

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Nov. 1 was a day for the parents of Edmond students to attend “school” for the evening. For the fourth year in Edmond Public Schools (EPS), the Parent University, put on by EPS, has been an influential program that provides a forum for parents. At this event, parents  receive information about some of the things that students from kindergarten to senior year deal with at school, home and in their community.

Many of the teachers of these classes are specialists who offer their pro bono services to advise parents on how to create supportive home environments and be involved in the child’s education pursuits.

“Today’s parenting is a much different experience than that of families 20 or 30 years ago,” said EPS associate superintendent Dr. Debbie Bendick. “When an adult is blessed with the opportunity to parent a child, the learning curve can be quite steep and the responsibility to have it right, overwhelming. Parent University is an opportunity for parents to receive new ideas, affirmation and sometimes even comfort.”

For example, Shelia Stinnett and Ann Benjamin are former Edmond school counselors who have gone on to establish themselves as mental health providers in the public sector. Stinnett, Executive Director of Edmond Family Counseling has been attending the Parent University for three years, where she has been able to talk to parents about the importance of developing family rhythms to communication within the family unit.

“I am a big connection person and I think it’s so important that the connection that parents have with their child is emphasized because a parent only has about 1,000 weeks with their kids from birth until they leave the home,” Stinnett said. “This connection will help children as it aids in brain development and the ability to form relationships later.”

Parents were able to play the role of students as they were counseled by professionals. Maria Vorel was able to attend the classes about blended families and co-parenting, digital dangers and communicating with children.

“They teach things that help with connecting to your children and really enhance parenting skills and remind parents to keep loving and supporting what their children do,” Vorel said. “I was reminded to be present in my parenting.”

Her and Brian Ramsey have children in second and fourth grades at Russell Dougherty Elementary.

“These classes really make parents aware of today’s issues and remind you of what it’s like to be in a your child’s position,” Ramsey said.

EPS looks to the future of a bright education. Parents, administrators and the community all agree that this is something influential that enhances this future. As students are able to find support and stability at home, their educational pursuits are continually furthered.

“There is an African proverb that many of us have heard over the years: ‘It takes a village to raise a child,’ Bendick said. “In Edmond, we are very, very fortunate to have dozens of bright, generous, caring adults who are experts in many of the social and medical sciences that specialize in the area of pediatric and adolescent health, as well as family dynamics and relationships.”

The support that is available to Edmond parents and students allows for an environment at home and school that fosters true learning and support for every part of the education system.

Contact staff writer at [email protected] 

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Samantha Thompson, Memorial Co-Editor-In-Chief

Hello! My name is Samantha Thompson and I am so happy to be a member of EMHS Ruff Draft. This will be my third year as a part of the staff, and as a co-editor...

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Parent University: a time to learn