3 centers added for parents

January 17, 1994|By Andrea F. Siegel | Andrea F. Siegel,Staff Writer

The Anne Arundel County school system's Parent Involvement Center, in business less than a year at Oakwood Elementary School in Glen Burnie, is to open at three new locations in the next few weeks to give parents throughout the county help with child rearing.

County school officials said last week that centers in Lothian, Severn and Pasadena would open in February.

"Parenting help is something that all of us have a need for at one time or another," said Patricia Barton, Oakwood Elementary School guidance counselor who runs the main center and will supervise the satellites. "I'm just really excited about the whole thing."

Although the center is located in Glen Burnie, parents from all over the county have attended programs, borrowed materials and conferred with counselors, Ms. Barton said. A preliminary survey showed that parents whose children attend South River High and other schools have gone there for the programs.

"In South County, people have expressed a need throughout the year for this," said Mary Brett, the Lothian Elementary School guidance counselor who will be running that center.

School officials have scheduled an open house from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. Monday, Feb. 7, at Lothian, in the 5100 block of Solomons Island Road, to introduce parents to the center, which will be open every Monday evening after that with programs and counselors available for discussions by phone or in person.

A small, independent center opened last year at High Point Elementary School in the 900 block of Duvall Highway. It came under the umbrella of the main center at Oakwood Elementary last month. The High Point Center is open from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. Wednesdays. Another center will open next month at Van Bokkelen Elementary School in the 1100 block of Reece Road in Severn from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. Thursdays.

The main center is open three nights a week, and is the only one with counseling and referral programs that allow up to three visits with counselors and psychologists to address specific family needs.

Although all the centers will have mostly the same books,videotapes and other materials, counselors will tailor programs to the needs of the community.

"One of the requests we have had is for an Attention Deficit Disorder [and] hyperactivity disorder group for the parents," Ms. Brett said. Several special education classes for preschoolers already operate at Lothian.

Ms. Barton has tentative plans to open another satellite center in the next school year at Annapolis Middle School.

The parent center programs range from helping children get organized to helping them select careers.

Programs and materials about communication and discipline have drawn the most interest at the center at Oakwood, Ms. Barton said. Some parents have come because they need help, others out of curiosity. And others are trying to keep ahead of their children's development.

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