Peter Freeman (Children and Family Worker) [March 2018]
‘Where did January go?’ I ask myself, as the time to write for the magazine comes round once again.
It has been a frenetic start to the year. I have been reading stories to the pre-school children at Bexton on a weekly basis, leading one of the ‘Open the Book’ teams fortnightly, supporting Eve James and her team with Jolly Tots weekly, as well as planning events for the coming months.
In the last month I have been clearing room 1, the room previously used by Princess Street Pre-school. At the end of the autumn term there was quite a lot of equipment that had not been wanted by neighbouring pre-schools and/or parents. Following an extra effort to sell what was left in order to pay outstanding costs, what was left has been sent to Malawi. As a result there has been virtually nothing that has been sent to landfill and there have been positives from what was a sad time.
At Bexton Pre-school I have been reading Bible stories that are interactive. The stories are written so that the children are kept engaged by doing actions. It is great when the children have to make actions for surprise, happiness and sadness. We have read stories about the Creation, Noah, Abraham, Joseph and Moses. By coincidence, with ‘Open the Book’ we have been acting out the same stories.
As well as this I, along with a team of volunteers, have started a ‘Care for the Family’ parenting course called ‘Time Out for Parents - The Teenage Years’.
The course has been well attended and I have received very positive comments from the participants about the material and organisation. What has been good about the material is that it facilitates discussion about parenting and provides useful information and strategies that assist the parents in raising teenagers. There are three of us who support the parents and we have seven attendees. Some of the attendees are from the church but others are from further afield. The course has been advertised by ‘Care for the Family’ on their national website and as a result I have had conversations with solicitors and parents from as far away as North Wales to Manchester. The solicitors represent families where the courts have decreed that attending a parenting course were part of the contract so that parents could have access to their children. Unfortunately there are few courses that meet the standards expected by the courts but the course that we are running is approved and is therefore very popular and much needed. Hence the work that we have undertaken is, as stated by one of the helpers ,‘Outreach at the sharp end'.
I have already agreed to commence another parenting course in April (April 17th) which will be ‘Time Out for Parents – The Early Years’, a course that has been requested by church members and legal services. This is a six session course, once again written by parents and professionals and designed specifically for parents with children who are five and under. If you are interested in attending or know someone who might be interested please let me know.
Children and Families Worker
p.s. We’re holding a day of puppet training on Saturday 17th March, here at KMC. It’s a day I’ve done twice already, and is huge fun. Please book a place with me as soon as possible— it’s open to all and we’d welcome everyone who is interested and can attend. The cost is £18 for adults and will be free for students.