While academics are an important element at school, every parent knows their kids learn a lot more in the classroom than just traditional school work.
Oklahoma City area campuses, especially those with elementary students, are working toward being more intentional in nurturing well-rounded individuals. For example, Edmond Public Schools has adopted a method called Conscious Discipline, where teachers integrate social-emotional learning so less time is spent on policing behaviors and more time is spent teaching vital life educational skills.
To really make these lessons stick, it’s important for parents to practice similar tactics at home. Ruthie Riggs, executive director of elementary education at Edmond Public Schools, has organized an educational event to help parents understand how to develop resiliency in children.
“Anyone who says parenting isn’t hard is either in denial or crazy,” Riggs said. “Parenting is hard. I really hope this is the beginning of multiple community events to support that important work of parenting.”
Riggs has sought the help of Edmond psychologist Dr. Paul Tobin to help present the Developing Resilient Youth and Families program to parents for the first time. Tobin has been a psychologist for 25 years and a mental health expert for almost 40 years. He currently works in Edmond at the Counseling and Consulting Offices of Tobin, Benjamin and Marotta. The resiliency theories he will share with parents have been tested and proven effective, he said.
The program uses emotional intelligence with elementary students to prevent risky behaviors as they go through middle and high school. According to Tobin, these lessons can prevent substance abuse, emotional difficulties, relational problems and fortify young people to deal with bullies, develop a sense of self-worth and belonging and better realize emotions in others.
“All kids are susceptible to these kinds of problems or have the potential to be,” he said. “Having a fortified sense of self-value and importance and a sense of belonging to something larger than themselves, these are critical core characteristics to develop to keep them from those harmful things.”
Tobin and Riggs hope the event will be a springboard for parents to dive into the theories and begin to learn more on their own and practice them at home.
Riggs said she is excited to encourage parents to practice some of the same lessons at home she encourages her teachers to use to nurture students emotionally and academically.
“We know that when they (parents) can provide reinforcement at home for both academics and other kinds of emotional intelligence that the outcome is going to be better,” she said. “This is just an additional resource for parents to make sure they’re reinforcing the right things at home.”
Tobin will present the free program on Jan. 26 at 6:30 p.m. at Edmond Public Schools Administrative Center at 1001 W. Danforth. An identical program will be hosted on Feb. 9 at 6:30 p.m. at the same location. School counselors and staff from Dr. Tobin’s office will be on hand to answer questions. The event will be open to all parents of elementary-aged children in the area, but preference will be given to parents of Edmond Public School students. Registration is required at http://bit.ly/EPS_Event or by contacting a school counselor.