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Classes offer tips on raising children

Who wouldn't want to get tips on maneuvering the turbulent waters of parenthood? And who wouldn't mind spending a day learning how to help their child build skills that will last a lifetime?

In Hernando County, parents, guardians and child care providers of children below 12 years of age will get the opportunity to learn discipline techniques that encourage positive behavior, nurturing techniques that build self-esteem and brain training to help children develop learning skills, at the "Tools for Success Parent Institute," scheduled for Jan. 22 at Nature Coast Technical High School.

Set in the form of six workshops, parents will also see how to use the arts to encourage literacy and how families can build better readers.

Even fathers, who are often overlooked as nurturers, will get special attention in a workshop addressing "How to Be the Best Dad You Can Be," moderated by John Balogh, an Exceptional Student Education social worker who also coordinates a dad's ESE support group.

"We honor parents as their child's first teacher," said Noreen St. Jean, consultant for the Hernando County School Readiness Coalition. "And we want them to know that they have very good partners in the community."

The School Readiness Coalition is responsible for the pre-K program in the county, and St. Jean wants parents to know that information is a powerful tool for helping prepare children to integrate successfully into the school setting.

"These workshops will have parents walking away with the tools they need to provide learning or play experiences that help develop learning and skills in their children," St. Jean said.

Many community agencies came together to either sponsor the event or participate as exhibitors. For example, the county library system will be on hand to offer library cards and show the resources they have at their disposal. And the recreation department will have information on activities and programs for adults and children.

"This is an opportunity for participants to enhance their own skills, to share tips and gets tips, and to take advantage of finding out about valuable new tools and community resources that can help them every day, because kids don't come with an instruction book," said Sharon Mechler, ESE parent liaison.

Keynote speaker Judith Everett, project manager for District 13 SEDNET, will present "The Parent and the Scholar _ A Mother's Perspective."

She will speak about what she has learned as a parent and grandparent, teaching children self-determination skills. And as the scholar, she will cite the importance of family stories and traditions, and looking at our children from a strength-based perspective.

IF YOU GO

WHAT: Tools for Success Parent Institute

DATE: Saturday, Jan. 22

LOCATION: Nature Coast Technical High School, 4057 California St.

TIME: 9:30 a.m.-2 p.m.

DETAILS: Registration is limited. Call to register before Jan. 19 with Christine Dyal at (352) 754-5068, ext. 211. Child care for ages 3 to 12 by YMCA provided upon request at time of registration. A light lunch will be served.

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