Her children drove her into career as expert in child-rearing


January 21, 1998|By Kathy Curtis | Kathy Curtis,SPECIAL TO THE SUN

WILDE LAKE resident Eva Skrenta grew up as an only child. She got a degree in zoology and went to work in a lab.

Those experiences did not prepare her for child-rearing.

"I had two boys 18 months apart," she said. "I was married to a medical resident who was away every third night."

The result?

"I ended up spanking and yelling, and being surprised that I would do that kind of thing," she said.

Skrenta enrolled in a parenting class and encountered a book called "Children: The Challenge," by Dr. Rudolf Dreikurs, a psychiatrist trained by Alfred Adler.

"I saw myself on every page," she said. "I devoured the book in 2 1/2 days."

She was attracted to Dreikurs' concepts, which she describes as "basic, common-sense human relations skills."

She added, "The principles are simple, but not that easy. You have to erase the tape that's in your head and replace it with something else."

Skrenta took two 10-week courses back-to-back. Then she began leading parent study groups herself.

Finally, she enrolled in graduate courses at the Adler-Dreikurs Institute at Bowie State University, where she earned a master's degree in guidance and counseling in 1977.

"I made a 180-degree turn," she said. "But it was a matter of necessity. My kids drove me into my second career."

Now, she added, "I feel really good, because I learned to understand why kids do the things they do."

Skrenta teaches a 10-week course based on Dreikurs' book. Her next session will begin Feb. 10.

Classes meet from 7: 30 p.m. to 9: 30 p.m. Tuesdays at the Faulkner Ridge Neighborhood Center. The fee is $90 a person, or $135 a couple.

She also offers a series of monthly workshops from 9: 30 a.m. to 12: 30 p.m. Saturdays at Slayton House.

The next session, this Saturday, will focus on "Dealing with Anger: Your Own and Your Child's."

The fee is $15 a person, or $22 a couple for each session.

Preregistration at Slayton House is required for the 10-week course and the Saturday workshops.

Information: 410-730-3987.

School donates books

Pointers Run Elementary School presented more than 3,000 used books to the Baltimore Reads program during a ceremony at the school on Friday.

The books will be distributed to low-income families in Baltimore through 27 Book Bank sites in social service waiting rooms, homeless shelters, community health centers and schools.

Students collected the books over the past month.

The project was coordinated by PTA President Katie Randolph, assisted by parents Lynn Paynter and Cheryl O'Malley.

Steve Cormack, Book Bank distribution supervisor for Baltimore Reads, visited each class on Friday.

The donations, he told the students, will allow some children who have never owned a book to have bedtime stories read to them for the first time.

"We're trying to promote caring about others," said Assistant Principal Heidi Balter.

"Just seeing the children's faces, you could tell it was a great experience for them," she added.

Young artists compete

The Columbia Orchestra will hold its first Young Artist Competition Finals Recital at 2 p.m. Sunday at Smith Theatre, Howard Community College.

The recital will feature nine instrumentalists from Howard County competing for prize money and the chance to perform with the orchestra at its spring concert in March.

The finalists were selected Saturday from more than 70 TTC competitors, ages 8 to 18.

Three winners will be chosen at the recital, one each in piano, string and wind instruments.

A free reception will follow the performance.

Tickets are $5 and will be sold at the door.

Information: 410-381-2004.

Pawprints track reading

A trail of bear paws extends halfway around Bryant Woods Elementary School, each one representing a book read by a student or a staff member.

The project is part of the school's observance of Maryland Reading Month in January.

So far, students and staff have read 47,000 pages.

Paws were chosen to represent the books because the school's mascot is a bear.

Tracking the paws are parent volunteers Kym Crump, Susan Burger, Kathryn Youngworth, Janeth Williams and Terri Wisor.

Fifth-graders Ryan Zanski and Stephen Creasy are keeping track of the number of pages read.

Other activities include a storybook parade, held Friday, in which students dressed up as book characters, such as Little Red Riding Hood, Madeleine and Arthur the aardvark.

"Read Me Day," scheduled today, is an event in which students and staff members are asked to wear shirts, hats and buttons with words on them so everyone can "read" one another.

Students will dress like sports players on Good Sports Read Day, Jan. 28, when football players from Wilde Lake High School, led by coach Doug Duvall, will read to each class.

The school's staff is setting a good example by participating in a book club that meets once a month at a local restaurant to discuss a novel.

'Mania' -- for girls only

Eighth-grade girls from Harper's Choice and Wilde Lake middle schools will interact with professional women and participate in hands-on workshops at "Computer Mania" on Saturday at Howard Community College.

The free symposium will be held from 8: 30 a.m. to 12: 15 p.m.

Valerie Smith and Longfellow resident Wanda Wilson Garcia -- computer network technicians at Howard Community College -- will conduct a workshop called, "What's Wrong with My Computer? I Think It's Terminal."

They will take students into a computer lab at the college and teach them how to identify what is inside a computer and how to install components.

"It's hard to find female technicians who work with the hardware," noted Elizabeth Mahler, the event coordinator. The symposium is open to all eighth-grade girls and their parents.

Advance registration is required: 410-772-4564.

Pub Date: 1/21/98

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