SPSCC’s Early Learning and Education Programs: Educating Parents Through Parenting Tools Lecture Series and Events

By Stacee Sledge

Four years ago, inspiration struck South Puget Sound Community College professor Chris Moon.

“A colleague and I had gone to a parenting talk and we said, we should bring this to our community,” says Moon, who is also the program lead for SPSCC’s Early Learning and Education Programs, which includes Education, Early Childhood Education, and the Parenting Education Program.

Moon and her Parenting Education Program team envisioned bringing parenting information to the wider community through lectures and family events.

Moon and her SPSCC colleagues teach early childhood education and parenting classes, both on-campus – for parents in the community and enrolled SPSCC students going into the field of teaching – and through four area cooperative preschools.

“We wanted to promote that parents need to have fun with their kids. Not only do they need information on how to be the best parent they can be, we also wanted them to recognize that having fun with your kids is part of parenting.”

“We also wanted it to be free to the community, with free childcare, and bring in quality speakers,” says Moon. “And then we wanted to also have one family concert every year.”

Working with Shelly Willis, executive director of Family Education and Support Services, Moon and her Parent Education Program colleagues created the Parenting Tools Lecture Series.

The objective of Parenting Tools is to work as a collaborative effort between Thurston County agencies and groups to provide support to parents through free lectures and family events.

“We want to destigmatize the idea that parents need help,” Moon says. “We want to offer this information that gives parents a shot in the arm a couple times a year, gives them a night out.”

Different local agencies pulled together money and the Parenting Tools Lecture Series started gathering sponsors. “It was really, truly a community collaboration,” says Moon.

The organization is now sponsored by more than a dozen local organizations and businesses. “We couldn’t do it without the generous financial and in-kind support of many sponsors,” says Moon.

The Parenting Tools Lecture Series schedules two lectures per academic year, with the Hands On Children’s Museum and the YMCA providing free on-site childcare.

And for the past four years, Seattle’s popular Recess Monkey has performed to a packed SPSCC theater of dancing children and toe-tapping parents.

The next Parenting Tools Lecture Series event takes place this Wednesday, March 21st, with best-selling author Ellen Galinsky. Thurston Early Childhood Coalition is a major sponsor of the event.

“We’re really excited to have her, because she’s such a well-known speaker,” Moon says of Galinsky. “It’s kind of a coup for our community because there’s been a lot of activity in the early childhood world around her information.”

Galinsky is a national best-selling author of Mind in the Making and will speak about the seven essential skills that kids and adults need to be successful.

The seven life skills she identifies as essential to success in school, the workforce, and life, are:

  1. Focus and control
  2. Perspective-taking
  3. Communicating
  4. Making connections
  5. Critical thinking
  6. Taking on challenges
  7. Self-directed, engaged learning

Galinsky will speak on Wednesday, March 21, 2012 from 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. at the Kenneth J. Minneart Center for the Arts at South Puget Sound Community College. The Hands On Children’s Museum and YMCA will provide free on-site childcare for children ages 3-12 (registration required; call HOCM at 360.956.0818 x0).


For more information, call 360.596.5293.

Teachers of Tomorrow Club will also be collecting food for the Thurston County Food Bank.


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