East Oregonian : E.O. (Pendleton, OR) 1888-current, August 01, 2019, Page 7, Image 7

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    August 2019 - EASTERN OREGON PARENT - 7
OPEC Parent Education … what’s it all about?
We’ve all heard the saying
that “children don’t come with
a manual,” acknowledging that
loving and caring for a child
is one of life’s most satisfy-
ing, and challenging, myster-
ies of the universe. There is a
wonderful group called OPEC
(Oregon Parent Education Col-
laborative), whose focus is to
build up and support parents
on that all-important journey.
Enhancing parenting prac-
tices and behaviors, like devel-
oping and practicing positive
discipline techniques, learning
age-appropriate child develop-
ment skills, and understanding
typical milestones are keys to suc-
cess. Promoting positive play and
interaction between parents and
children, and locating and accessing
community services and supports,
goes a long way to knowing you
are among friends on this pathway.
OPEC’s objective is to make learning
about the best parenting tactics the
norm in all communities.
The primary goals of parent-
ing education include improving
relationships between parents and
their children, and teaching parents
how to deal with the daily respon-
expect at each stage in a child’s
• Learning age-appropriate disci-
pline, and how it is more effec-
tive than anger-driven punish-
• Learning to recognize their
strengths as parents, and how to
put those strengths to good use
sibilities of maintaining a home and
family, in positive ways. Let’s tackle
a few basic questions:
Why is parent education impor-
tant? Because children acquire the
abilities to become responsible,
caring adults and citizens of their
society from the people who are
most intensely involved with them,
parenting is the most important
and challenging job any of us can
have. Yet, it receives little support
or recognition in our society. OPEC
is one of those support systems
available to all parents and com-
Open late, open Saturday,
here for the whole family!
541-481-7212 • 450 Tatone Street, Boardman, OR 97818
What is the purpose of par-
enting education? Parent educa-
tion programs aim to support
and strengthen existing parenting
abilities and develop new exper-
tise. This helps parents build the
knowledge and skills needed to
carry out child-rearing responsibili-
ties and provide their children with
experiences and opportunities that
promote learning.
What is a parent’s role in a
child’s life? The role of the parent is
to provide encouragement, support,
and access to activities that enable
the child to master key develop-
mental tasks. A parent is their child’s
first teacher and should remain
their best teacher throughout life.
As with all educational pro-
grams, the benefits of parenting
education are many and varied.
Improved parenting skills have a
lasting impact on the children being
raised. Parenting education is for
everyone, and OPEC provides tools
to enhance a parents understand-
ing through:
• Learning about basic child devel-
opment, so they know what to
• Learning how to work together
as parents to raise their children,
even if they are no longer living
• Learning how to deal with major
problems that may arise
• Learning to play with a purpose
and promote learning
Some of the resources that OPEC
provides have been useful in sup-
porting parents and strengthening
parenting skills, including 10- to 12-
week series and workshops. Check
out the Umatilla-Morrow County
Head Start website at umchs.com
and click on Parent Education (the
little red wagon icon) and check out
the training calendar. All classes
include childcare and snacks free!
For more details, feel free to inquire
for information at 541-667-6091 or
Mary Lou Gutierrez is the Parent
Education Coordinator at UMCHS,
a partner with the Blue Mountain
Early Learning Hub, which works
to bridge early childhood resources
and prepare children for kinder-
garten. For more information visit