What parent doesn’t want a better understanding of issues that impact the health of their children? West Liberty University’s Parent Project offers informative and free advice to help families raise healthy children.

Susie Nelson, Patricia Croft, Lou Karas

From left, Susie Nelson, Patricia Croft and Lou Karas welcome guests to the Parent Project at the Highlands Center.

The Parent Project began this past fall. More workshops are planned and will take place from 6 – 7:15 p.m., Jan. 23, Feb. 7, Feb. 26, March 26, April 11, April 23 and May 14 at the WLU Highlands Center.

“There are so many issues impacting children right now:  divorce rate, obesity epidemic, rate of disability and prescribed medication, increased academic demands, proliferation of technology, and the economic down-turn of the economy and the lack of financial literacy understood by adolescents and adults. This project addresses these big issues that impact the physical and emotional health of children,” said Dr. Keely Camden, Dean of the College of Education.

Using a workshop format, the programs currently offered at the Highlands Center will move to the Children’s Museum of the Ohio Valley for two final sessions, March 21 and June 6.

Beyond traditional lecture-based workshops, the Parent Project provides an interactive and hands-on forum for parents, and other interested parties, to gain knowledge of issues relevant to raising healthy children. It also offers a chance to meet other parents and learn from their situations.

Upcoming workshop at the Highlands Center include:

  • Jan. 23, Creative Literary Activities, low cost and no-cost creative activities to promote reading, mathematics and critical thinking for children in preschool through elementary school.
  • Feb. 7, Software and Gadgets for Children with ADHD and Autism, this session will increase understanding of assistive technology that can capitalize on strengths and work on challenges to learn math, reading and writing. Children are encouraged to attend this workshop with their parents.
  • Feb. 26, Youth Sports 101, covers the pros and cons of travel sports, school sports and community sports and is geared to parents of children ages 6-16.
  • March 26, Keeping Kids Safe Online, 20 safety tips will be shared and a companion website with links to resources, childcare provided.
  • April 11, The Teenage Brain, a session that looks at the workings of the brain in relation to educational and social success.
  • April 23, Food for Thought, children ages 4-18 are encouraged to attend with parents to hear the information and sample the healthy food.
  • May 14, Effective Discipline, based on the book, “Parenting with Love and Logic,” childcare provided.

Two follow-up workshops, specifically designed for parents of young children, will be hosted at the Children’s Museum of the Ohio Valley in downtown Wheeling and presented by faculty from the Early Childhood Program at West Liberty University.

  • March 21, The Learning Garden, building an Interactive and Educational Garden with Children, will explore ways to engage children in gardening. This workshop is geared toward children, age 2 -14 and parents are encouraged to attend with their children.
  • June 6, The Sugar Wars: Getting Kids to Eat and Drink Less Refined Sugar, healthy and low-sugar or no-sugar alternatives will be sampled and provided, children encouraged to attend with their parents.

The Parent Project was funded through a grant from the Community Foundation for the Ohio Valley and there is no charge to attend the workshops.

“Administrators and faculty in the College of Education at West Liberty University, in collaboration with the Children’s Museum of the Ohio Valley, created this Parent Project idea and we are so grateful that the Community Foundation supported this important community education effort. We encourage any interested person to call us or explore the topics so they can take advantage of this opportunity,” Camden said.

For more information, please call WLU’s College of Education at 304-336-8247. You do not have to pre-register to attend the workshops, however you may reach the Highlands Center by calling 304-217-2800. WLU’s Highlands Center campus is located at 355 Wharton Circle, Suite 200, near the Marquee Cinemas.