During AVANCE-Austin’s parenting classes, parents learn about the cognitive, social, physical, and emotional development of their children. These lessons lead parents to play an important, proactive role in counteracting risk factors that lead to school underachievement. Through the parenting classes, fundamental beliefs about children’s development are challenged and expanded, leading to long-term behavioral changes.
Educational Toy-Making Classes
AVANCE’s toy-making hour gives parents the opportunity to make educational toys their children can play with, while making parents keenly aware of the importance of learning through play. During this hour the moms (and dads) create one of over thirty educational toys using low-cost common household items. Upon completing a toy, parents are taught the many learning opportunities and basic concepts each toy can teach. This toy-making takes place so the parent has a tool in order to stimulate the child’s learning environment, and so the child owns educational toys they might not otherwise have access to due to poverty.
English as a Second Language (ESL) Classes
AVANCE-Austin offers ESL lessons using Literacy Coalition trained AmeriCorps volunteers to minimize costs and maximize community involvement. By strengthening their English skills, parents are better able to help their children succeed academically. ESL classes also build a base from which parents can further their own educational development, leading to enhanced self-confidence and better job prospects.
Community Resource Speakers
During the final hour of class, knowledgeable professionals from local community agencies present information to parents on a variety of topics and services for families, such as: issues on family violence and prevention; substance abuse; safety in the home; health and nutrition, continuing education, immigration, budget and finance, and job training. Participants often share that learning about resources in their community gives them the confidence to seek assistance. Parents become more confident in their ability to advocate for themselves, and access to services helps to reduce the stresses in their lives and promotes self-sufficiency.