The front entrance of Columbia Elementary

At Columbia Elementary School, parents are coming together once per month for to tackle difficult subjects at Parent Discussion Nights. The discussion nights were created through a partnership between Elementary Support Specialist, Lurinda Ford, and Columbia Parent Association (CPA) president, Michelle Malone.

“I noticed that we have a very active and involved parent community here at Columbia, but we also have a number of parents who are not part of the core group,” Ford said. “I wanted to think of ways to get more involvement and support to a broader cadre of parents. One of our ideas was to have parent support nights.”

Each meeting tackles a specific parenting topic, a speaker presents and then parents spend time discussing what they have learned and experienced. Two meetings have already taken place this year, focusing on compassionate parenting and communicating with your child. Upcoming meetings will focus on child development and expectations, sibling and only child parenting dynamics, and ways to play as a family.

“I really like the idea that parents can share their struggles and ideas with each other and understand that much of what they are struggling with, others are or have struggled with also,” Ford said.  “There is a lot of wisdom in the parents and they provide great support and ideas to each other.”

Columbia hopes to expand the program in the future. Currently, each meeting is gathering about 40 parents. Ford said she hopes the program will continue long enough to become a core part of the parent community at Columbia.

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