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Published 9th May 2011, 12:29pm

How can parents be educated so they have the facts and the confidence to tackle issues that may be affecting their children; issues such as drugs, alcohol, bullying, STD's, obesity and self-esteem? On May 11, John Gray High School (JGHS) will answer this challenge with the launch of a new pilot parent education programme. Educators will partner with specialists to lead discussions and guidance sessions with parents. Presentations will be complemented by a range of hard-hitting DVD documentaries from the Connect with Kid series. Talking to our Kids about Drugs is the first workshop to be piloted. It will be presented in partnership with the National Drug Council and will include topics such as:

  • How to talk so kids will listen;
  • Drug types and effects; and
  • Knowing the signs and symptoms of drug use.
The JGHS Life Skills Department has designed the programme with parents' busy schedules in mind. The first workshop will run over a period of four weeks, and each session is just 30 minutes long. Parents may attend one of the following sessions at the school each week:
  • Wednesday mornings: 8:00-8:30 am
  • Thursdays afternoons: 5:30-6:00 pm
According to JGHS Life Skills Programme Subject Leader Nat King, the education programme is the result of real partnerships. "This parent education programme has been developed by the Life Skills Department with Carlene Hyatt taking the lead, and we have received wonderful support from our principal Ms Lyneth Monteith and the John Gray Home School Association. "The Ministry of Education has provided the resources that are a key part of the programme: the Connect with Kids series of DVDs and other materials. And agencies such as the National Drug Council and Health Services Authority have pledged their support." Mr. King explained that this is the first of a series of workshops to be offered during the 2011/12 school year. Education Ministry Chief Officer Mary Rodrigues, explained that the programme is an important part of the ministry's goal to create new and innovative ways for adults to connect with students in the education system, on issues that put their health and safety at risk. "I am excited to see the programme launched, with the John Gray High School taking the lead," she said. "The Connect with Kids materials are exciting and innovative. They are excellent tools for providing information and getting people of all ages to talk about some very challenging but important topics, such as drugs, bullying and self-esteem. "This is a trial run, which we hope to extend to all three of our high schools during the next school year. We look forward to the discussions among the schools and parents that the John Gray pilot will no doubt generate." During the next school year, the parent education programme will be complemented by sessions for students in Years 7, 8 and 9 during life skills lessons. "We have worked to incorporate the Connect with Kids materials into our life skills curriculum," Nat King explained. "Next year we will aim to coordinate the parent workshops with the student lessons for greatest impact. We want our students and their parents learning and discussing the same topics at the same time, so that the lessons taught can continue and be reinforced at home". For more information on the new John Gray Parent Education Programme, email Nat King at nking@jghs.edu.ky or call him on 938 8577. Alternatively, email Charlene Hyatt at chyatt@jghs.edu.ky.