After 70 years of providing Pierce County families with compassionate parent education, it’s time to kick back and have a party.
Representatives from parent education programs and cooperative preschools from Pierce County and around the state will be in Tacoma on Oct. 23 to take part in a very special birthday celebration marking 70 years of parenting education in Washington.
The celebration will begin at 5 p.m. at Clover Park Technical College. Gov. Chris Gregoire has already declared it Parenting Education Day statewide to commemorate the significance of the 70th birthday.
Keynote speaker at the event will be state Rep. Ruth Kagi (D-Shoreline), chairwoman of the House’s Early Learning and Children’s Services Committee and winner of the Outstanding Legislative Leadership Award from the Washington State Association of Head Start and the Early Childhood Education and Assistance Program.
The celebration is being hosted by the Organization of Parent Education Programs (OPEP), a professional organization of program coordinators from state community and technical colleges. OPEP has been meeting since the 1970s to share information, curriculum, and ideas for enriching the parent-child educational experience.
“Parent cooperative preschools provide support and resources to families in the early years of childhood, helping develop a strong foundation for future years,” said Michelle Barnes, coordinator of parent education programs at Pierce College. “These programs strengthen families and enhance a parent’s ability to provide the best possible environment for the healthy growth and development of their child.”
Parenting education began in 1938 when a group of Seattle women formed a preschool group. Today, that effort has grown to include more than 170 cooperative preschools and parent programs coordinated by 26 of the state’s community and technical colleges. More than 14,000 families are touched by these programs each year.
In Pierce County, parent education is offered at Pierce College and at Bates and Clover Park technical colleges. For more information on Pierce’s preschool programs, call (253) 840-8445. For more information on Bates’ preschool programs, call (253) 680-7517. For more information on Clover Park’s preschool programs, call (253) 589-5739.