A word from The Parent Centre Director, Venecia Barries

Dear parents, caregivers, colleagues and friends.

The Parent Centre wishes you and your loved ones an abundantly blessed 2014. We are pleased that in our 30th year as a parenting organisation we are able to continue offering our complimentary basket of parent and caregiver support, information and training services –  counseling;  home visiting for pregnant women and new mothers; teen parenting skills training; parenting workshops, courses, lectures and talks; parenting support groups; parenting clubs; moms circles and fatherhood training.

We continue to receive positive feedback from beneficiaries of our services about how it has changed their parenting and lives for the better. A mother who participated in our Positive Parenting Course shared “I realized that I needed help to understand my daughter. I’ve learned a lot in a short period of time, like stages of a child’s development, that I need to tap into my child’s feelings and take care of my own feelings as well. I was afraid of not being able to do everything right”.

We are infinitely grateful for the loyal and increased support of all our funders who have enabled us to sustain all our services as well as add new ones. This has been quite remarkable amidst a challenging economic climate.

We are excited to see the growing awareness of the significant impact that parenting has on our children, families, communities and country, and realization that parents and caregivers need support in this fundamental role. This was highlighted recently in the latest edition of the South African Child Gauge , a publication of the Children Institute and University of Cape Town, accessible at http://www.ci.org.za/depts/ci/pubs/pdf/general/gauge2013/SouthAfricanChildGauge2013.pdf

A critical point raised is that early childhood development starts in pregnancy and continues until the age of 9 years and that health care; nutritional support; early learning services social grants as well as parent and caregiver support is needed throughout. This is quite a significant shift from the traditional view that early childhood development is solely centre-based pre-school education.

“The well-being of the mother or primary caregiver is one of the single most important predictors of child outcomes” (South African Child Gauge 2013 Policy Brief)

We are continuously thankful for our dedicated and diligent Parent Centre board and staff who bravely embrace the many internal and external changes. We recently bid a sad farewell to Zaitoon Abed (Finance Manager) and Audry Johnson (home visitor in Hout Bay) who both retired and Milly Pekeur (Parent –Infant Intervention Home Visiting Programme Manager ) who took up a job closer to home. We wish them only the best for this new season in their lives. We also warmly welcome our new colleagues: Igsaan Najaar (Finance and HR Manager); Erica Kleynhans (Parent –Infant Intervention Home Visiting Programme Manager ); Amanda Adams (new social worker); Priscilla Laingno (new PA to the director) and Zaida Jansen ( new admin assistant). We wish them much fulfillment and growth at The Parent Centre.

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