Project „Better Parents Can Change the World for Better“ is aiming to create strategic partnerships with organizations with the same or similar focus as the Union of Mother Centres (UMC). They are partnerships promoting the exchange of best practices in adult education for adults / parents. Priority is given to the education of managers of maternity / family centres and partner organizations, which will be implemented by various methods of non-formal and informal education in the field of work with adults / parents.
Educational programs will focus on working with parents, grandparents, parents from socially disadvantaged backgrounds, parents of disabled children. These are primarily the acquisition and exchange of knowledge and practical skills, inspiration, sharing and demonstration of good practice. Demonstration of the practical skills of partner organizations in their natural environment, the reasons why they have decided for a given type of education, what approach they have, what procedures they use, what methods have proven to them, where there are problems. Parent education is an important part of increasing their core competencies. At the same time, we are able to influence their attitude to the upbringing and education of children.
The Union of Mother Centres has been active in the field of parent education for 14 years. It was launched in 2006 by the campaign How we want to raise our children. Thus, the Academy of Practical Parenting (APR) was established, based on the needs of parents. Therefore, the course How to Understand Your Children and Yourself was developed, based on the idea that a child should be best understood by his or her parent. In 2009, following international conferences and transnational meetings, this work resulted in an accredited course and publication supplemented by expert consultations of psychologists, paediatricians and educators. The Union of Mother Centres has been building on these foundations for more than 10 years. At the same time, however, time has shown that there has been a change in core competences and that centre of education has been adapted to the needs of parents. Today we work with different groups of parents and their requirements vary. APRs act as community self-help groups in maternity and family centres, where we also invite experts on these topics if necessary. Key competences still include morning parenting, raising children, managing emotions, but also were added the educational principles of Maria Montessori, IT and online learning and digital skills, time management, financial literacy, return to work and labour market.
Our partners Family Network (Czech Republic), Center for Majke Plamen (BIH), Center for Majke Aurora-Mine (SRB), and Single Parent Families Foundation (HU) have the same priority objective adult / parent education in the areas specified in their countries – ICT education, parenting efficiency, sustainability of the mother tongue quality in a bilingual community, education of Roma parents, women from poor rural families or ethnically mixed families where it is essential to work with gender sensitive approach, help for single parents. They also offer parents’ education in civic engagement, equal opportunities – involving fathers in childcare and household care.
At the same time, UMC is a member country of MINE (Mother Centres International Network for Empowerment) and we have also worked with several international partners in other projects, the largest of which was Public Living room (grant from Gruntvig programme). Also in this project we have MINE centres (SRB, BIH).
Better Parents can make the world a better place is an opportunity to show that working together, promoting and exchanging experiences is not just one country´s, but a common way across Europe. The exchange of experience will inspire us and lead us to new horizons and new ways to make the world better. Based on common mobility and reports, we will then create a “Collection of Good Practice examples” that will serve as a guide for us and partner organizations for possible learning activities for maternity and family centres and partner organizations. It will be disseminated to maternity and family centres in Slovakia. The collection will be translated into English for long-term use by our partner organizations, but will also be distributed to the international MINE network, where it will be a support material for all international centres in the MINE network. We will certainly remain in digital contact with our partners, and we can continue to share experiences and share success in the field of parent education through ICT technologies. We can confidently say that the knowledge, skills and practical experience that we acquire during the exchange and education will be used by us in Slovakia as well as all our partners in our further educational activities for parents.