"Parenting in the Community - Executive Summary (397 Kb)"
Parenting in the Community EVALUATION REPORT SUMMARY Rose Hill - Littlemore Children’s Centre October 2006 – February 2007 Executive Summary Introduction This project was inspired by a presentation at a Conference (Every Parent Matters, Parenting UK October 2005) attended by Ginnie Herbert, Parenting Programmes Co ordinator, Rose Hill-Littlemore Children‟s Centre. The presentation was given by a (highly diverse) group of parents from Peckham, South London who had trained to support other parents and deliver courses. With Ginnie, Aziza Shafique, Ethnic Minorities Liaison and Development Officer, and Kathy Peto, trainer for Oxfordshire County Council‟s Parenting and Family Learning Team, subsequently visited the Peckham project and decided to purchase their training manual and deliver a similar programme from the Children‟s Centre aimed at those living in its catchment area. The course aimed to ”build parenting capacity and embed it in the local community by developing the ability to deliver group based and one-to-one parenting programmes and support to parents/carers in the locality.” 17 learners enrolled on the course. 88% of the participants lived in the Rose Hill- Littlemore catchment area, 100% completed the course and attendance was 91%. Evaluation Evaluators were commissioned about half way through the course. Lynda Ince, South East Regional Officer for Parenting UK, evaluated the actual course, through focus groups which concentrated on how people experienced it, and Annie Winner, a freelance education advisor and trainer, worked with the team on the context and development of the programme and its outcomes. Process Prolonged and extensive outreach attracted 17 learners to the 50 hour course, which ran weekly at the Children‟s Centre over 3 months. Childcare, lunch and translation were provided. The course was staffed by three trainers, one of whom also acted as an interpreter. The course focused initially on parenting issues and in the second part the group developed skills relating to working with parents in the community. The sessions were carefully planned, using highly participative teaching methods, plenty of support and affirmation – and fun – and were delivered in a structured but flexible way. Open College Network accreditation was available at levels 1 and 2. “Aziza was absolutely key to bringing the Asian families in, Ginnie was absolutely key as the person with parenting skills – it was her brainchild, and I was bringing training experience” (trainer) Outcomes The evaluation showed that the course was largely successful in achieving its aims. There is evidence to show parenting, communication and facilitation skills development I’m so surprised how much I’ve learnt that I’m taking home and using, and it’s working. (Learner journal) personal learning and change in family relationship “My mum has been very happy since she has been doing this course of parenting. I think she is more cuddly with us kids. (Learner’s daughter, 9) improvement in community relations between Asian and non Asian participants “ we‟re not just learning about parenting also we‟re learning about different cultures and how they handle their parenting” (Learner video interview) achievement from accreditation increased confidence and self esteem “I like myself again” (Learner‟s journal) I am pleased about myself because I feel I am finding me again, not mum or cook, or housewife or cleaner, just me (learner) gaining sufficient motivation to attend 3 day residential at Trafford Hall in Chester “You really believe in me, don’t you” (quote from parent, trainer’s journal) .progression, into further courses, planning and organizing of a variety of community initiatives. “.. using the building – they walk in and know where they’re going – there is literally and theoretically more ownership” (Children’s Centre staff) All 17 participants completed the course and attendance was 91%. 88% of the participants lived in the Rose Hill-Littlemore catchment area. There was evidence that a number of other factors (for example, the use of “Home Groups” and Panels, and the high priority given to translation) also supported and valued learners, contributing to the exceptional retention rate. The course became a safe place for a very diverse group of people, many of whom brought sensitive issues into the open, further enriching the curriculum and promoting accessibility and inclusion. “You felt like you were able to trust and talk in your small groups” (Parent in focus group) Value for money The total direct cost of the course was around £6000, including childcare, tutor fees, course materials, lunches, While relatively costly, it was apparent that the additional resourcing added proportionately more than the extra cost to the quality of the learning experience. The high learner/trainer ratio, and the confidence the learners had in the childcare undoubtedly contributed to the high retention rate. What contributed to its success? Prolonged and sustained outreach “Aziza encouraged and supported and believed in me, she said „you can do this‟ ” (learner video interview) The quality and number (3) of the trainers who brought exceptional knowledge and a variety of essential skills (including interpreting and mediating) to the course “They gave us the knowledge, and we built our self-confidence up. Actually that was all we really needed. We felt like a team” (Parent in focus group) The structure and whole day delivery of the course “Five hours, not three, like being in college” (Parent, video interview) The capacity to deal with unexpected behind the scenes issues, eg with childcare Addressing potentially destructive undercurrents in the group “…some of the group members maybe felt a bit resentful of the time taken up with translation” (trainer) Sufficient challenge, balanced with a high level of support “ they made us feel: I can do this, I am worth something. They didn’t push us, but encouraged us to be our best, to want to proceed and carry on, knowing they’re there for us” (learner video interview) Giving value and status to minority groups “ I think it would be very challenging and very difficult for the Asian ladies to do this course, it wouldn’t have been possible because with their assignments I am giving them extra input at home and supporting them” (trainer). Relatively generous resourcing The high priority given to translation “ sometimes I can‟t understand but when she translates what she said, that‟s very good for me” (learner video interview) Lynda’s focus groups with participants confirmed findings and added further insights… Her evaluation shows that the parents were given an opportunity to build their skills, knowledge, confidence and self esteem. The parents talked about the rippling effects of the course saying that it had touched other parts of their family life that was for them an unexpected outcome. “ We found that a lot of the things we were working on was about our children, but actually when we used them in other things they also worked well, we were actually being more assertive and calm and it worked to diffuse situations that might have gone into something bigger” (parent). The parents found that support was a key characteristic that helped them to survive the group and maintain their attendance. Working in partnership and as a team was a key theme that built on the knowledge of the facilitators and the potential of the parents. These two components were powerful and brought the course alive by giving the parents and the facilitators the impetus to use and build on their personal resources. A key theme was to “Enable the parents to learn and get accreditation for that learning” (trainer). Equally, as the atmosphere of trust was created by the facilitators, it encouraged the parents to become open to new ideas and new learning. A number of strategies were adopted to engage with the parents and help them to feel valued and empowered. Indeed they reported that the most important factor that contributed towards success was in a word “empowerment” “It’s that word “empowerment”, Its the key word I think of the group” (Parent) The notion of educating parents about how to build their personal self-esteem was an integral part of the course and an expressed aim. The facilitators started from the premise that they needed to work positively with parents by enabling them to believe in themselves in so doing, they worked consciously towards self- actualization. “The aim was to train a group of parents to be confident” (Trainer) It was also to: “Work with people from the community and to give them the skills and confidence to support other parents and families in a whole variety of ways” (Trainer). The approach to the training not only enabled the facilitators to engage with the parents but also a new level of consciousness was developed. The parents became more aware of the implications of their gendered identity, ethnicity, communication, language and the significance of the parenting role. The wider context of parenting and the role of fathers were explored. With this level of consciousness came the desire to set up a father‟s group and other groups in the community. “I want to set up a group for fathers, uncles, all male carers because we mums we take on so much” (Parent). “Like I’m thinking the training is not just for mums, it’s for dads as well” (Parent) Giving children choices and praising them came out of their wish to understand what parenting means. One parent said: “I do things a little differently to what I used to with the children. I never used to give kids choices” (Parent). Divisions based on ethnicity, culture and language presented a potential threat to the group and the facilitators. The Asian mothers, while wishing to access the course, felt fearful and anxious because of their inability to communicate in English. This led to them isolating themselves in order to be supported and remain close to the people they could communicate with. “The ladies are saying that in the beginning they were a little afraid. They wanted to come back, but they were afraid because of the language barrier” (Interpreter for Asian parents). The white mothers felt threatened because of their lack of understanding of how to connect with people from a different cultural group. They were aware of negative images that are often portrayed by the media some of which they had personally internalised. At times there was impatience because the pace of the course had to be slowed down for interpretation. “I think that some of the other group members maybe felt a bit resentful of the time taken up with interpretation” (Trainer). In order to get over this barrier, the facilitators worked consciously to break down suspicion, fear, and anxiety and to challenge racism and discrimination. Since the Asian facilitator provided translation and gave off-site support with assignments, the Asian parents were enabled to complete their assignments and to participate in the group activities. It was a strategy that gave them confidence and helped them to access a community based service on an equal footing with the other parents. “I think it would have been very challenging and very difficult for the Asian ladies to do this course, it wouldn’t have been possible because with their assignments I am giving extra input at home and supporting them” (Trainer). Thus, it was important to have an interpreter, since without her the group would not have survived. Indeed, Asian parents would have been denied the opportunity to learn about themselves and about other parents. The parents discovered that they had many experiences in common and that they could work together in a safe environment. In addition it is clear that without extra services to meet the needs of those for whom English is not their first language, the training would lack an inclusive element. Strengths and Limitations / Challenges: The strengths of this course as well as the limitations can be clearly delineated. The resources to facilitate the course, and the planning that went into it were strong indicators of why the outcomes were positive. The blending of the skills, experience and knowledge of the facilitators contributed significantly successful outcomes. The strength from the parents‟ perspective was that an opportunity, space and time was created for personal development and they felt empowered by the process. “If a mother herself gets confident she will know how to look after her children better” (Parent). A positive outcome is that parents are submitting their work to the Open Network College to gain a qualification at levels 1 and 2. Above all the parents are being perceived as people with: “A huge amount of potential and wisdom and a huge amount of experience between them” (Trainer). The challenges: One of the facilitators was aware that parenting in the community is also linked to volunteering. The parents were very keen to get involved but they might also be exploited. It is therefore essential that continuing support systems are set in place to monitor the work that the parents are expressing a desire to organize. There are risk factors which the centre staff needs to acknowledge and work with on an on-going basis to help the parents in their continuing development to avoid: “Dumping on them and then thinking oh my goodness that didn’t work out very well’. Also we need to be aware that other people in the community might be a bit wary about them and not set them up to fail” (trainer). Fathers were not involved in the group and this evaluation cannot comment on the experiences of fathers. It was clear from the mother‟s perspective that the exclusive female attendance highlighted fathers as the missing link and thus is an area for community development. The trainers had planned however that given the sensitivities of the participants, the shared learning and cross-cultural issues that it was appropriate to run as a women only group. Overall this part of the evaluation found that the planning and delivery of the programme was very successful. It was the creative approach to working with parents that reaped many benefits and good outcomes for the parents, their children, the facilitators and the Children‟s Centre and possibly other parents in the local community. One of the wider implications of this project is the wish to take it forward onto another level. Lynda Ince April 2007 Limitations No systematic assessment of learners‟ starting points or expectations of the course Evaluation process should be built into the programme from the beginning Little attention paid to the role of fathers as parents Recommendations Ongoing support and development especially for those learners who have not immediately progressed into employment or new courses Follow up in 6 and 12 months to assess sustainability Evaluation process to be integrated from the beginning Some minor adjustments to course content Course materials to be written up and produced in printed or CD form Course to be delivered annually as part of Children‟s Centre programme Dissemination Deliver the course elsewhere in Oxfordshire and beyond, using video to help promote it A presentation to be developed (and participants supported to deliver it) for conferences Wide circulation of this report Participants to be trained to act as mentors/advisors to anyone else who wants to deliver the course. Annie Winner April 2007 For further information contact: Aziza Shafique email@example.com Ginnie Herbert firstname.lastname@example.org Rose Hill – Littlemore Children’s Centre, Oxford 01865 716739 Kathy Peto email@example.com Parenting and Family Learning Team, Oxford 01865 747870 With thanks to Caroline Penney, Charlotte Wilson and the parents from The Parenting Centre, Peckham, London, for your help and guidance, and for inspiring us in the first place. For information about the manual ‘Training to work with Professionals And Volunteers’ email firstname.lastname@example.org