Recognizing the numbers of parents who are isolated and lacking supports, Hospital Family Resource Centre initiated Parent and Toddler Groups throughout the area. Now over 130 parents and children attend groups and access support. The groups have initiated friendships and strengthened links in the communities and parents have a source of support and expertise in relation to raising their children.
We have two part-time Parent Support Workers employed at the Centre in conjunction with the Mid-Western Health Service Executive. Michelle Stack and Phil Lockhart are both based in the Hospital Family Resource Centre and their work is supported in the groups by a small team of dedicated volunteers.
To date Hospital Family Resource Centre has set up five groups in Kilmallock, Ballylanders, Knockainey, Caherconlish and Hospital. Parent Support Workers also provide back-up individual support to parents/carer’s and organise, day- trips and networking between groups. A very special person visits each group in the run up to Christmas each year and a party is held to celebrate Santa’s visit.
Parent & Toddler groups allow parents/carers to enjoy time with their children away from the home and to interact with others of a similar situation. This group helps to prepare the child for progression into preschool and school through interaction with other children of their own and similar age. Children naturally migrate towards other children during these sessions allowing them to build independence from the adult. The sessions can also provide parents/carers with support and contact that otherwise may be minimal. Participation can lead to a greater sense of belonging within their community. Parent & Toddler groups may also be an invaluable source of information and access to other resources such as training and awareness raising, on issues that may be of concern to them.
Our groups run throughout the community every week as follows:
|Where||When||Time||Venue||Parent Support Network|
|Ballylanders||Tuesdays||10:00 – 12:00||Day Care Centre||Michelle Stack|
|Knockainey||Tuesdays||10:00 – 12:00||Community Hall||Phil Lockhart|
|Hospital||Wednesdays||10:00 – 12:00||Resource Centre||Michelle Stack|
|Caherconlish||Thursdays||10:00 – 12:00||Millenium Centre||Phil & Michelle|
|Kilmallock||Fridays||10:00 – 12:00||Pastoral Centre||Michelle Stack|
Many parents/carers of young children enjoy the opportunity to meet with others of similar aged children. Parent & Toddler groups are a great way in which this can happen in a safe and secure environment in their own locality. Such groups may have traditionally been aimed at mothers but now it is widely encouraged and accepted for either Parent / Carer to attend.
As well as having a cuppa and a chat, each session is also packed full of activities. A sample of the activities are:
- Sing Song
- Arts and Crafts
- Mini Olympics
- Story Time
These are shared activities among the children and their parent/carer and often gives the family unit a much needed opportunity to interact in play and enjoyment.
The groups always welcome new members as once children start going to school their time with parent and toddler groups comes to an end. Very often the families continue to attend with other, younger children. The group is open to all where children are aged between 0 – 5 years.
How do you find out more?
If you would like to join any of the groups above please contact Michelle or Phil on 061-383884 or 086-8888105.