Friday, February 11, 2011
We Call it "The Beanbag Place"
Three year old Benjamin Wexler, and his parents Doug and Elyse and younger sister Sabrina, have been participating in classes and workshops at The Parent Connection since Benjamin was born.
Benjamin calls it "The Beanbag Place" because during circle time at the weekly playgroups, there's a song where the children throw beanbags. Benjamin also likes dressing up like a lion and giraffe in The Parent Connection's costumes, and that he and his parents "play some games" at the 'Beanbag Place." What Benjamin doesn't know, and his parents appreciate, is that all the fun will have a significant impact on his successful future.
"When Benjamin was born I got a flyer at the hospital about the First Steps program, a newborn support group for parents of newborns," said Elyse. "I was pretty new at parenting and was looking for other people who were having the same experiences."
During the First Steps program Elyse learned about TPC's "Parents as Teachers" program and now, a parent educator comes once a month to Elyse and Doug's home to answer their parenting questions and provide information and support. "My parent educators have really seen us through it all," said Elyse. "We work on sleeping, napping, discipline and all of the issues that come up in parenting. Mostly you realize that you're ok and that you're learning what you need to be a good parent."
For Doug, "The staff has been great. They're very friendly, very knowledgeable and they've helped us solve some problems."
Elyse and Doug also participate in the playgroups at The Parent Connection which include one hour of child directed playtime and ½ hour of circle time where families participate as a group. Doug is a teacher and attends playgroups during the summer when he's off school. A highlight of the playgroups is the "take a book, leave a book" program so that children leave each time with a new book to read.
Elyse returned to the First Steps group when her daughter Sabrina was born, and "really enjoyed it because I was a totally different person.
"Parenting can be isolating, and it's really hard to know if you're doing the right thing," added Elyse. "I have met some really nice people"
Doug adds, "The name The Parent Connection is great. We have connected with great people."
To learn more about The Parent Connection, visit www.theparentconnectionaz.org.