By Betty Cooke, Ph.D.
Parent Education Lecturer
University of Minnesota
Being a parent is very demanding and challenging work. You need to know how your baby grows and develops, to learn new skills and focus on your baby's needs. Mothers, grandmothers and other relatives or trusted friends or neighbors are not always nearby to turn to when questions arise. Today's new parents can get needed information and support from others through parent education.
Through parent education, in parent groups or an online chat, you learn that you are not alone in feelings you may have had about either yourself as a parent or about your baby. Your goal is always the best possible development of your son or daughter. Supporting your child's development lays the foundation for your child's success in school and life.
Parent education may be offered through a variety of means and settings. Parents can attend classes together where they participate in group discussion with other parents. Classes may be offered in various community sites. It may come in the form of individual home visits to parents and their families, or it might occur through electronic means, on a Website such as this.
In Minnesota, one of the most common and readily available forms of parent education is delivered through the public schools in every school district in the state through Early Childhood Family Education (ECFE). It offers information and support to all Minnesota families and their infants, toddlers and preschoolers. Parents meet with and learn from other parents and a licensed parent educator.