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January 17, 2008

What, so what, now what?!

During the summer I developed a program that encourages meaningful interaction between parents and their children at home. Using the Minnesota Parent Education Core Curriculum Framework, I created a list of possible activities. The five main components include: Parent Development, Parent-Child Relationship, Early Childhood Development, Family Development, and Culture and Community.

As part of the program, parents sign a "contract" in which they agree to complete ten activities per semester (two activities in each of the five sections). Parents reflect using the “What?, So What?, Now What?” model. They describe what they did (What?), explain why it was important to them (So What?), and how it will affect their family in the future (Now What?).

I am pleased and encouraged at the depth of the reflections I received throughout this semester. One parent commented, “I always knew reading [to my child] was important. But I didn’t know that [he] could read to me!” Another family spent time talking about their family tree and learned about great-grandparents, grandparents, aunts, and uncles who emigrated from South America. A mom reflected that her son was able to spend one-on-one time with his father – something that she thinks is “so valuable.”


This sounds like a great program. Sometimes parents only need a little bit of structure and encouragement to relate to their children in new and very important ways.

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