Milton Elementary School concluded its Strengthening Families Program April 1. This program was in the last year of a five-year federal 21st Century Community Learning Center Grant. A partnership between the school and Children & Families First of Delaware, the program is an extension of the school’s after-school program, FAME, and combines it with a family literacy skills component.
The spring session saw the program completed by nine parents. The program has graduated 43 MES parents in the last five years. The goal is to work with children and families through education and early intervention to teach skills that increase the students' academic and behavioral success.
The program is a two part-series of seven weekly sessions and provides dinner, transportation,and child care for younger children to promote parent attendance. There are three components: parenting skills, children’s skills and family skills.
The program teaches parents fundamental principles of effective behavior management, communication skills and stress management.
Children learn skills to understand their emotions and develop problem-solving strategies. In the final component of each session, parents come together with the children to practice the skills they have each learned in their respective groups.
Shay Eli, the schools’ reading specialist, attends several dinners to promote reading skills and support quality family-learning time.
School Principal Kevin Mumford said the school has applied to the Department of Education to renew the grant for another five years to continue the FAME program and Strengthening Families Program. "It benefits our children so much and supports the parents in helping their child,” Mumford said.
This collaboration between the school and Children & Families First is the only such program in existence in Kent and Sussex counties.