In Plunket rooms around the nation, parents are getting information, support and opportunities to mingle and share their stories through our parenting education programme (PEPE). A few weeks ago we popped in to a Wellington session to find out exactly what goes on…
Offered free to new parents and funded entirely by donations and grants, PEPE comprises five courses covering different stages of babies’ development. We attended a session in the six-week ‘Your Growing Baby’ course, which is for parents with babies under six months old. Ten mums were at the Kilbirnie Plunket rooms on the day we arrived, and it was clear they were getting a lot of value from their two-hour session – most notably in reassurance that they were doing a good job. “It’s also nice to have a place to go each week, where my baby can interact with other babies and I can chat with other mums going through the same thing as me, and learn heaps too,” said Alanah.
The course had a strong focus on the practical, covering everything from babies’ developmental stages to tips for safety and sleeping. The women also discussed the idea of respecting and loving their babies, and agreed that having the latest gadgets and accessories wasn’t necessary; just giving them food, love, warmth, attention, boundaries and guidance was enough.
According to PEPE facilitator Sue, the course is more than education; it’s also about providing moral and social support. “Many families live without the community support that I (and many others) grew up with,” she said. “We can help to connect mums and dads through these courses, and provide them with research-based information and advice that help to build their confidence.”
The women clearly appreciated Sue’s role. “She was incredibly knowledgeable and welcoming, and covered all the things we wanted to know,” said Trey. “She also cuddled our babies when we needed a break and made a great milo!” Kate added “It’s been something to look forward to each week”. The mums were all very grateful that the course was free, thanks to the generosity of supporters like you. “Not a lot of things are free these days, and when you’re down to one income and desperate to get out of the house, this can be a life saver,” said Louise.
The course was so successful that the women have now formed a coffee group, enabling them to strengthen their connections and mutual support. So on behalf of all the mums and dads who’ve taken part in our PEPE courses, thank you. You’re making a wonderful difference to their everyday lives.