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Help children grow through Oregon Parenting Educators Conference

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Of all the things that influence a child’s growth and development, the most critical is reliable, responsive and sensitive parenting.

Effective parenting education programs have been linked with decreased rates of child abuse and neglect, better physical, cognitive and emotional development in children and increased parental knowledge of child development and parenting skills.

To ensure the next generation of Oregonians has the support they need for optimal development, the College of Public Health and Human Sciences’ (CPHHS) Hallie E. Ford Center for Healthy Children and Families (HFC) and the Oregon Parenting Education Collaborative (OPEC) are hosting a one-day Parenting Educators Conference for professionals who work with families.

The conference, held from 9 a.m. – 4 p.m. Monday, May 19, at the CH2M Hill Alumni Center at Oregon State, will run in conjunction with the annual Oregon Parenting Education Awareness Week. Oregon Gov. Kitzhaber signed a proclamation declaring May 18-24 as Oregon Parenting Education Awareness Week to celebrate parents and their role as a child’s first teacher.

The week’s events will wrap up on campus with a free seminar by Eric Pakulak on Friday.

Eric, who is a research associate in the Brain Development Laboratory at the University of Oregon, will speak on “Development and Assessment of an Evidence-Based Training Program for At-Risk Preschoolers.” The free event begins at noon Friday, May 23, in the Hallie Ford Center, Room 115, and is open to the public.

“Friday’s seminar is a great opportunity for both campus and community members to learn more about new research that has the potential for us to better understand interventions that may change the trajectory for at-risk children,” says CPHHS Parenting Education Program Coordinator Denise Rennekamp.

Those who have registered for the Monday conference can choose to attend workshops in four core areas, as well as enjoy the keynote speech from Ann Corwin, known to many as “The Parenting Doctor,” who will speak on “Making Emotional Literacy a Part of Everyday Parenting.”

“We chose Dr. Corwin as our keynote because of her years of experience in developing programs for families and working directly with parents and their children, as well as her national reputation as an excellent speaker,” Denise says.

CPHHS and HFC leaders say Oregon Parenting Education Week events at Oregon State have grown and evolved over the years as they’ve seen a real need and desire for professional education around parenting.

The new, updated conference style will feature workshops covering topics such as Partnering with High-Risk Families; Engaging Fathers; Teen Parent Rights and School Responsibilities; Yoga for Children and Families; Ways to Support Families Who Have Children with Special Needs in your Parenting Class; Screen Time: A Focus on Infants and Toddlers and more.

“Parenting education makes a positive difference for families, and there is little support for those who provide this important service,” Denise says. “Recognizing this need, the Hallie Ford Center is working with stakeholders to build an infrastructure for these professionals.”