By TERESA WOOD
STRATFORD? - Because children don't come with an instruction manual, parenting classes will be offered at the Stratford Elementary School beginning on Nov. 13.
Offered by Building Families, the classes focus on nurturing children between the ages of birth and five years of age and will be held on Tuesdays, Nov. 13 - Dec. 18 from 5:30 - 7:30 p.m.
The classes are free with meals and childcare will be provided.
Roxanne Fevold, Parent Coordinator for the Parent Connection Program will teach the classes. The classes are funded by the Building Families-Early Childhood Initiative and Prevent Child Abuse Iowa.
"There are approximately 2,000 days between birth and the first day of kindergarten," said Fevold. "During this time, there are so many things that are occurring developmentally with children. This class focuses on the various developmental aspects that are occurring".
The class will teach techniques on how to handle challenging behavior in children and how to assist a child to develop and manage their emotions, said Fevold.
Parents will also learn the importance a parent's positive comments and encouragement makes in a child's development. Techniques on how to foster development through play will be taught as well as teaching children friendship skills.
County statistics show that child abuse occurs in Hamilton County with the county ranking 65th in the state for child abuse cases, said Fevold.
"We have many children who are getting abused," said Fevold. "Most of the abuse occurs during these first five years of development".
The classes are designed to teach parents the skills and techniques of how to parent, said Fevold.
"All parents can benefit from learning more skills and techniques to parent since children do not come with an instruction manual," said Fevold.
Building Families serves residents of Hamilton, Humboldt and Wright counties by providing classes and resourses to assist families.
Parenting classes are offered in those counties multiple times a year, usually in the fall and in the spring, said Fevold. In addition to the fall class in Stratford, a Webster City class is being planned for spring 2013.
There is no limit for class attendance, but registration is required in order to guarantee meal availability and childcare staff, said Fevold.
The deadline for class registration is Nov. 20.
To register or for more information, call 515 832-1791, ext. 202 or visit Building Families at: buildingfamilies.net.