Saturday, April 6, 2013

SENG Model Parent Support Group Facilitation Training

I don't know where to start about this training. This is one of those trainings that you cannot really put into words. It is one of those trainings that are so good that it will require several posts and constant updating as I continue down this new path of education.

I attended the SENG model parent support group training. This is a training that gives us the skills and information necessary to facilitate a 8-10 week parent course for parents of gifted children where we focus on the social and emotional needs. This is a topic that is almost taboo in our society. It is a topic rarely discussed in education period. Sure, we will make a blanket statement here or there, but really it is something that we all like to hide from because it is so personal and there are never any clear cut answers.

This training was held at Heartland AEA in Johnston, Iowa. It was a great location. The training was operated by the amazing and world reknown Arlene DeVries who has just a few credentials next to her name. She is so good. I don't know how else to describe her besides wonderful! She was helped by her two proteges Dal and Jacquelyn Drummer from Wisconsin.

This training helped us learn how to really operate a session. There were so many amazing little techniques and tricks to be learned that I will have to do some serious unlearning. These techniques will allow me to be a better parent, teacher, presenter, and educator in other aspects besides just this parent group.

A little bit about what this SENG Model Parent Group sessions are all about.

Objectives of SENG Model Parent Groups

  1. Establish an environment in which facilitators provide support and guidance, so parents of talented children can interact and learn from each other.
  2. Increase parents’ awareness that talented children and their families have special emotional needs.
  3. Develop parenting skills for nurturing the emotional development of talented children.
  4. Provide parents with materials to enhance understanding of:
    • Characteristics of high potential children.
    • Programs and opportunities for talented children.
    • Relevant books and professional organizations.
    • Referrals for more in-depth professional assistance.
Encourage parent involvement in and support of appropriate educational opportunities
(Gifted Parent Groups: The SENG Model, 2nd Edition, 2007, p. 6)

I walked away from the training with some new connections in the gifted education world. We were a group of 26 awesome educators and parents who just want to do better with our roles in helping children. I hope to continue to connect with these people because I have much to learn from all of them.

I am going to be working very hard over the next few months getting everything lined up and ready to go to unveil and operate the first SENG Parent group here in the Quad Cities next fall. I have to take time to absorb all I took in during the training, finding a location, spreading the word, ordering the materials, working on my craft, and finding a fellow facilitator to help me run this group.

We had a chance to practice the first day when many parents came that night for two hours for us to practice running a session. I cannot believe how open and honest the parents were during the sessions. There was a complete sense of trust. I am still moved by what I heard and what was shared during the one session I operated. It was a sign that despite the idea that we think parents feel connected and have a network of parents to help them figure things out, many really do not. So many felt alone and unsure about what to do, but through the course of these short practice sessions they started to form bonds. My eyes were opened as both a parent and educator. It was amazing.

Any time you delve into sensitive topics that pertain to our own children many emotions can be shared from tears to anger. I am nervous to operate, but I will not let that deter me from offering something that can be a life changer for families.

As I continue to read, study, practice, and prepare for the fall I will keep note of what I am doing to share along the way. The first order of business is to read this incredibly powerful book that was provided to us on parenting gifted children. I will be sharing my notes and ideas while reading and see where that takes me.

In the meantime if you are in the need for a parent group, then please keep this in mind when the next school year rolls around. This is something that could be a great benefit to you. 

Let another journey in my educational career unfold!

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