Even though I’ve taken my fair share of Spanish classes, I would be lucky if I could ask someone for directions to the nearest supermercado in Spanish. (Sorry, former Spanish teachers!) Fortunately, I didn’t have to understand  subjunctive verb conjugations to get a sense of the accomplishment that graduates of our ABCs of Parenting In Spanish class felt during their last session.

Facilitators demonstrate an activity for parents on the last night of class

There were festivities throughout the night to celebrate the eight weeks that participants spent learning the ins and outs of parenting. Before class, families, volunteers, and facilitators devoured a pot luck dinner of delicious dishes from many of the family’s home countries. I wish I could tell you the names of the dishes, but I was a little too busy eating everything in sight to ask anyone.

After our feast, parents headed off to class and I waddled over to a classroom in the First Assembly of God Church to observe the children’s programming. While the younger kids made collages, the older kids participated in their last yoga class of the session provided by Yo Kid…Stretch Your Limits. I was a little skeptical about the skill level of elementary school-aged kids, but as soon as they rolled out their mats it was clear that they were old pros. From downward dog to balancing poses that would make me fall flat on my face, these kids looked like yogis.

Kids show off their yoga skills

We topped off the night with a graduation ceremony, where parents received certificates for completing the course. Parents and their children walked across the church’s stage to the cheers of fellow classmates and their families. Even the kids received a YoKid certificate and yoga mat to continue practicing yoga. “How do you say paparazzi in Spanish?” one volunteer asked, as parents snapped photo after photo of class participants and volunteers. If that is any indication, this session of ABCs was one to remember.

One ABCs participant, Wendy, said the class taught her to how to incorporate rewards and praise into her parenting style. Wendy said she used to only focus on setting rules for her children; now she maintains a healthy balance between praising her children and reprimanding them when necessary. Wendy added that she wished there were more class sessions. “It’s never enough,” she said.

A SCAN volunteer helps a child with her collage

If you would like to register for the next session of ABCs of Parenting in English, call our Parent Education Coordinator Shannon May at 703-820-9001 beginning Monday, July 25. Classes meet on Tuesdays from August 23-October 11 at First Assembly of God Church in Alexandria.  Registration for classes in Spanish begins on September 19. The class will meet on Thursdays from October 20-December 15, excluding winter holidays. Both classes begin with a light meal at 6pm and last until 8:30pm. The class and childcare are free.

-Jenna Temkin

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