The National Parenting Support Commission (NPSC) will be revamping the 125 Parent Places established islandwide, in an effort to boost support to Jamaican parents in the raising of their children.
Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the NPSC, Kaysia Kerr, told JIS News that the Commission is currently conducting an audit of the Parent Places that are attached to primary schools, “with a view to looking at what other resources and other support are needed at the facilities”.
Ms. Kerr said that, so far, audits have been conducted on 50 of the 125 Parent Places across the six Regions of the Ministry of Education, Youth and Information.
Meanwhile, Ms. Kerr informed that the Parent Places attached to primary schools have been reaping success.
She said through the Parent Place construct, a number of schools have been seeing improved parental involvement at school as well as improved parent-student relationships.
“We have seen better parental involvement. We saw where there might have been friction between parent and child in terms of the parent-child relationship. We saw academic performances and social behaviours improved among children, because when children and home are on the same page, we usually see the benefits in the classroom,” Ms. Kerr said.
“So, we certainly saw where children who might have had issues with just adjusting to instruction, adjusting to what the expected instructional outcome should be or whether they were not adjusting to the rules and regulations of schools, we saw improvements where those were concerned,” she added.
She further informed that the NPSC has received $10 million in grant funding from the Jamaica Social Investment Fund (JSIF) to establish an additional 10 Parent Places in the Corporate Area.
Ms. Kerr told JIS News that the additional Parent Places will be instituted at eight primary and two high schools in the Kingston area.
She noted that the Commission will be working with parents at these institutions to improve their parenting styles with students with behavioural challenges, adding that effective parenting underpins individual and national development.
“We are very grateful, because these are schools in very volatile communities, and where we see negative behaviours present, then we would ensure that we not just nip it in the bud but we start retraining the parents and building their own capacities and skills,” Ms. Kerr said, “so, that their parenting styles and their parenting practices, in general, can either change or improve, so that we can have better relationships and better structures in the home that will also spill over in how children behave and adjust to school life.”
Additionally, Ms. Kerr noted that the Commission will be moving to attach Parent Places to community centres and libraries across the island by June 2019
The Parent Places have been instituted through collaboration with the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and benefit from assistance from volunteer mentors and on-staff parent support managers.
The Parent Place is described as a ‘one-stop-shop’ for parenting information, skills training and support on effective parenting. It offers what is described as “21st century parenting” through quality information and referrals, access to parenting resources and workshops.