According to the World Health Organization, the United Nation’s agency and authority on international public health, early childhood is the most important phase for overall development throughout the lifespan because a child’s brain is most sensitive to the influences of the external environment during this vital time. Still, WHO reports more than 200 million children under the age of 5 fail to reach their full cognitive and social potential every year.
Addressing social-emotional development
In collaboration with Family Health Centers of San Diego and First 5 San Diego, the SDSU Department of Child and Family Development hopes to provide parents with the support they need to cultivate their child’s social-emotional development through a free 10-week parenting workshop series open to all SDSU faculty, staff, students and the community.
“The intensive series of workshops is for parents of children ages 0 to 5 in San Diego County,” said Eva Schulte, project coordinator for the Department of Child and Family Development. “The goal of the series is to provide parents with an understanding of their child’s behavior.”
This workshop series is just one example of how the university engages the San Diego region, a key initiative of The Campaign for SDSU. Whether it’s supporting programs that contribute directly to San Diego's growth or building academic programs to prepare for the region’s future, SDSU is an important community partner. Learn more about SDSU’s community engagement and how you can contribute.
Register by Oct. 26
While the classes began on Wednesday, Oct. 12, registration will remain open until Oct. 26. The workshops will be held at the SDSU Children’s Center every Wednesday beginning Oct. 12 through December 2011. Two sessions will be held each Wednesday from 7:30 – 9:30 a.m. and 4:30 – 6:30 p.m., with free child care available for the latter only.
“The classes are conducted in a small-group discussion format,” Schulte said. “We ask questions, and parents will bounce ideas off of each other. Like a support group, parents are able to share and learn things from each other.”
Topics covered during the workshops will range from understanding development and temperament to encouraging social competence, empathy and caring behavior.
“As adults, we know how to address our emotions and use expressions like, ‘I’m happy’ or ‘I’m sad,’ but children don’t. We focus on trying to help children identify their emotions and cope with them,” Schulte said.
Parents will have the opportunity to develop a home activity plan and set up goals based on individual concerns. In addition, a child-development assessment will be completed as a way to identify developmental strengths and weaknesses and provide the support and services needed.
“Even if your child isn’t having any social or emotional development issues, it’s always great to have the support of other parents. Especially for the 0 to 5 age group because it is such a critical time for children,” Schulte said.
About the workshops
The workshops will be led by four SDSU graduates with bachelor’s degrees in child development-related fields. Child development students receive a rich and extensive hands-on training through laboratory courses offered at the SDSU Children’s Center, where students observe and interact closely with the children.
“The workshops are a great way to provide parents with support and access to the free services offered by First 5 San Diego and Family Health Centers of San Diego,” Schulte said.
Family Health Centers of San Diego is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit community clinic that offers medical and developmental services for children. First 5 San Diego is a commission that promotes the healthy development of early childhood in California.
Parents will receive a certificate of completion at the end of the series. Educational DVDs and books will be raffled off as prizes as well.
Parents and caregivers who are unable to attend the series are encouraged to e-mail Eva Schulte at CFDparenting@mail.sdsu.edu or call 619-594-2149. The Department of Child and Family Development is able to provide private workshops to groups of 5 or more parents at no cost.