Programs sponsored by provinces, local municipalities or local nonprofits that prepare children, usually age three to five, to succeed in school. The programs are modelled on Head Start/Better Beginnings/Brighter Futures programs and are compensatory in nature targeting children from low income families or those who have or are at risk for a disability and who may have special needs. Services may include comprehensive development screenings, active learning, parent education programs, family activities, early literacy exercises, home visits and healthy snacks during the school day. In some instances, the programs are entirely home-based and focus on providing materials, instruction and support that enable the parent to prepare their child for entering school. Occasionally, the programs refer to short acclimatization sessions to make new pupils familiar with the school and classroom environment before the formal start of the school year. Some programs offer text messaging as a way to encourage parent participation in early education activities.
Programs that promote parent, family and community involvement in helping children succeed in school. Using a variety of involvement models, these programs encourage parents to support their children's schooling by working directly with their children on learning activities in the home and serving as an advocate for better education in their community. Parents are encouraged to model desirable behaviour (e.g., reading for pleasure), discuss school matters at home, arrange for appropriate study space, organize and monitor their children's time, check homework on a regular basis, tutor their children at home, help older students make postsecondary plans and select courses which support these plans, advocate for their children when required, attend school functions, discuss their children's progress with teachers, join the PTA, vote in school board elections, attend school board meetings and, where possible, volunteer to help with school activities, work in the classroom and/or take an active role in governance and decision making about school programs at the community, provincial or national level.
Programs for new parents that allow them to drop in without an appointment, chat with other families, have their babies weighed and meet with a public health nurse about breastfeeding or other concerns they may have.
Programs that offer classes or other educational experiences which prepare prospective mothers and their birth partners emotionally and physically for the labour and birth process. Topics covered include anatomy and physiology of birth, relaxation and breathing techniques, different types of labours, birthing/delivery options and postpartum care. Also included are programs that prepare other members of the family (grandparents and siblings) for the arrival of a new family member.
Programs that offer educational workshops that cover a range of family-living issues and help participants develop the knowledge and skills they will need to better handle life transitions and crises, improve overall self-esteem, promote growth, strengthen coping mechanisms and avert situations that can lead to family dysfunction. Topics may include parenting and step parenting skills, human growth and development over a life span, the physiological and psychological aspects of human sexuality; communication skills, couple and family relations, stress management, intergenerational issues, elder care, family and community relations, family and work relations, the impact of money and time management on daily family life, personal development, self-discovery and self-motivation. Family life education programs are offered by a wide variety of organizations including social and community service agencies, hospitals, schools and after-school programs, employee assistance programs or wellness programs in business organizations, learning centres and religious institutions.
Mutual support groups for parents who share a common characteristic or circumstance such as being single parents, dual career parents, multiple birth parents, parents with children who are out of control, or parents of children with disabilities, who come together for educational and social purposes as well as for mutual support. Meeting formats may include in-person, telephone or Internet options.
Programs that provide a wide variety of therapeutic interventions for parents who are experiencing emotional difficulties or conflicts concerning their role as parents. Included are individual or group counselling for one or both parents or conjoint parent counselling which focuses on and explores the mental, emotional or social problems of the individual(s) which contribute to their parenting problems.
Programs that use any of a wide variety of materials to educate the public about issues that relate to a particular field or topic.
The above terms and definitions are part of the Taxonomy of Human Services, used here by permission of INFO LINE of Los Angeles.