The purpose of the programme is to provide parents with the excange of information, knowledge, skills and support, enabling them to fulfill their parental responsibilities and promote the personal growth and development of competences of both the parent and the child.
The main goal of the programme is to create a stimulating and empowering environment where parents, together with the workshop leaders and other parents:
- exchange ideas about the ways in which they live parenthood,
- get to know themselves better as parents,
- become aware of how they relate to their child, and
- learn about other possible ways of raising a child.
They also become acquainted with the scientific views on:
- developmental and stimulative interaction between the parent and the child, and
- parenting in the best interest of both the parent and the child.
The Growing Up Together Programme comprises eleven two-hour conceptually and thematically interrelated workshops. The workshops are led by expert teams specially trained to provide support to the early development of the child. They include the following topics:
- Parents of the 21st century
- The four pillars of parenting
- Parental goals and child's psychological needs
- All our children and how we love them
- Listening – an important parental skill
- How does the child learn about the world?
- Boundaries: why and how?
- Choosing and creating solutions
- Parental responsibilities and some other issues
- Being a parent: influences and choices
- The ending and the new beginning
Upon completion of the programme workshops, parents usually keep meeting at the Growing Up Together Club.
Workshops are designed for groups of 8-12 parents and they include various forms of work, depending on the objective and the particular content of the activity. Short lectures with PowerPoint presentations, exercises and various assignments alternate with discussions on certain topics and exchange of experiences in small or large groups. Each workshop is ''spiced up'' with a game and/or a short film.
The programme was developed in 2008 and 2009 in cooperation with the leaders and parents who participated in the two pilot projects implemented in 25 kindergartens in the Republic of Croatia. The Handbook for leaders of the Growing Up Together workshops was published in 2010. The substantial interest of the professional public resulted in the publication of the book authored by Pećnik, N. and Starc, B. (2010) Parenting in the Best Interest of the Child and Support to Parents of the Youngest Children. Zagreb: UNICEF Office for Croatia.
The Growing Up Together Programme of Workshops with Parents was developed within the scope of the Project on the Parenting Support in the Community, as part of the Early Child Development and Positive Parenting Programme, entitled ''The First Three Are the Most Important'', run by the UNICEF Office for Croatia. The Programme also received support from the Education and Teacher Training Agency, Pre-School Education Department.
Authors: Ninoslava Pećnik and Branka Starc