Regional

Parenting club changing lives in Porus

Monday, December 18, 2017

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Porus, Manchester — Beverley Tulloch-Danvers, retired educator and president of the Porus Primary Parenting Club, knows from long experience that training adults to be good parents has immense value.

Among her prized memories is of a mother exclaiming after one training session: “Mi a go stop beat mi pickney! Teacher, I used to tie 'im up pon tree yu know an' beat 'im, but I won't do that again.”

A core task of the Porus Primary Parenting Club, first launched in 2000, is to help parents who have problems in raising their children to understand and appreciate best practices.

“Some parents come in and say 'Miss, I can't manage the bwoy' and all of that, so we offer parenting skills …,” Tulloch-Danvers told the Jamaica Observer Central at a recent parenting seminar at Porus Primary.

That desire to help parents to deal with challenges with their children was what motivated Tulloch-Danvers and other senior members of the Porus community to launch the parenting club in 2000.

Seventeen years later, workshops and seminars for parents — organised with the support of childcare experts from the Child Development Agency, tertiary institutions and private voluntary organisations — along with a range of other activities have worked wonders, Tulloch-Danvers said.

When the Observer Central visited last month, university lecturer Audrey Porter-Dacosta was the guest speaker, providing an audience of over 70 parents with advice on how best to communicate with and guide children.

Citing an example of miscommunication, Tulloch-Danvers noted that some parents consider their children “rude” because of questions asked of them.

“We explain that you can't just hit down your child because you believe the child is rude (for asking questions). The child is alert and wants to find out things from you (parent),” Tulloch-Danvers said.

Recognising that illiteracy and poor education are major contributors to poor parenting, the Porus Primary Parenting club conducts adult study sessions, including mathematics and literacy workshops.

“We seek to equip them (parents) to help their children, even with homework, we want them to be literate, numerate,” Tulloch-Danvers said.

Folk cultural activities have also proven popular and extremely useful, and neighbourliness has been an outgrowth of the club, making it easier for those in financial and material need to get help.

Blossett Plummer, acting vice-principal at Porus Primary told Observer Central that the parenting club “impacts the school and community in a remarkable way”.

Plummer said the club has facilitated employment training for parents through the HEART programme. Last year, some parents were trained in customer service and other skills, she said. “Those who did not have a skill were able to gain employment because of what the parenting club has done for them,” she said.

Students has also benefitted through a breakfast programme and the provision of clothing. “They (parenting club) have the community at heart,” said Plummer.

— Garfield Myers

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