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The City Journals

Moms embrace Copperview Elementary parenting program

Nov 27, 2019 07:50AM ● By Julie Slama

Community educator Maria Alvarez spoke at the first Copperview Elementary Moms Matter program of the school year, using an orange to demonstrate how mothers protect and guide their students to success. (Julie Slama/City Journals)

By Julie Slama | [email protected]

Carlie Foley arranged to go into work late so she could join her kindergartner, Olivia, for breakfast one October morning. After Olivia went to class, she stayed for the first Moms Matter meeting of the school year.

“I saw the flier and wanted to come and see what is going on in the school,” she said.

Similarly, Maricela Zarate stayed after her two children went to their classrooms at Copperview Elementary.

“It’s my first time here,” she said. “I came to help my kids.”

That is the program’s intent, said Copperview Community School Facilitator Jenna Landward, who helped develop the program, Moms Matter, after receiving feedback from the school’s community council saying they wanted a program designed to support mothers and help them find success with their children. The program is similar to the school’s All Pro Dads.

“We came up with our program to build community, to allow moms and kids to eat breakfast and to help moms learn how they can help with their children and have a link to learning,” Landward said about the program that began last spring. “It’s a wonderful program that complements our Family Learning Center and builds a bridge between home and school. We’re finding it is encouraging more parent engagement.”

While Landward said the program last spring covered topics from digital citizenship to DYAD reading, it helped mothers connect with the school and with people in the school.

“We’re seeing more parents and families supporting students with homework and reading at home and resulting in greater academic growth,” she said.

Principal Jeri Rigby said that the program welcomes all mothers.

“One beautiful thing about this is mothers come to have a simple breakfast with their kids and learn skills that will hopefully make them even better mothers,” she said. “Our attendance is a good representation of our community; we’re united in our single focus and goal of helping our children succeed.”

To kick off the program this fall, community educator Maria Alvarez spoke in Spanish, and with a translator for English speakers, addressed protecting their children and compared it to an orange.

“The peel is you; you are protecting your kids or the inside of the orange,” she said.

Then she asked the mothers how they protect their children. She received responses of guiding, feeding and nurturing children.

“The base of everything you do it love. Everything we do for them is out of our love. We guide them to grow in the right way and want to help them,” she said.

When asked how the mothers help their kids, she received nearly a response from every one of the 40 mothers in attendance. Time, attention, listening, setting rules and being firm, giving positive reinforcement, role models, teaching responsibility, reading together, and teaching respect were amongst ways Copperview mothers shared how they hoped to provide their children a positive upbringing.

Then Alvarez put the orange in a bowl of water, showing how it floats or “rises to the top.”

“These are your kids, with your guidance and protection and emphasis on education, spiritual and ethical morals, and all good things. They are shaping into humans who will contribute to our country,” she said.

Alvarez then peeled the orange and showed how without their mothers’ guidance, children may not rise to the top, but rather sink, like the orange did in the water.

“When we don’t protect our children, their future is down. Many of the parents at Copperview are wonderful and make sure their children are fed, read and get to sleep early. When we do things for our children, it shows we care. We care about their education, their intellectual, their social and their physical growth. We need to be aware of what is going on in our children’s lives. Our children need parents 100% of the time,” she said.

Landward said that Moms Matter will be offered three more times this school year to the Copperview Elementary community; in 2020, they will hold the program on Jan. 31, March 13 and May 1 in the school cafeteria. There also will be three more All Pro Dad programs this school year on Nov. 22 as well as Feb. 21 and May 1, 2020.