Published: 8/9/2012 2:24:51 PM
Play morning at Heritage Village
Wide-eyed and bushy tailed they anxiously move around the space babbling endlessly through toothless grins and playing with this toy and that as if it’s Christmas morning and they can’t decide which toy to have fun with most.
It was New Parent Support Program’s Play Morning held at Heritage Village Community Center that kicked off with singing and dancing. The activities are led by Carla S. Moore, a New Parent Support Program home visitor and play morning facilitator.
“I love the singing. It teaches early literacy and improves the way my child interacts and looks at the world,” said Deborah S. Ekland, military spouse and stay at home mom.
Play Morning, available at Fort Bragg/Pope neighborhood center, Heritage Village, and Linden Oaks, is an interactive playgroup that helps parents learn developmentally appropriate play techniques and helps children improve their social, cognitive and motor skills.
“This is a great resource for parental education and an excellent way to set a routine for my daughter,” said Ekland.
“Alexis, (Ekland’s 11 month-old daughter) and I come to Play Mornings or other groups ran by the NPSP at least once a week,” said Ekland.
The NPSP is a professional team of social workers and nurses who provide supportive and caring services to military Families with children from birth up to three years of age.
“It’s really just a great resource for new parents and anyone with children 36 months and younger,” said Moore. “We even do in-home visits,” she said.
“Carla is a registered nurse and a licensed clinical social worker so she has the knowledge, training, and experience that made me feel comfortable letting her into my home,” said Amanda C. Collins, a military spouse and stay at home mom. “We moved to Fort Bragg when my daughter was 6 months old and now she is almost three. Carla has been with us the whole time bringing much needed support and answers to many questions that I have had.”
The NPSP offers a wide variety of resources for potential, new and even the experienced parent working on “extending” the family.
Children’s books, pamphlets, home visits, play mornings, classes, parenting books, and support groups are all part of the prescription from the NPSP.
“It’s all about what the parent needs. They are the experts, and we will assist them with whatever resources we have in order to help them meet their needs,” said Sue O’Brien, New Parent Support Program coordinator. “This isn’t a cookie-cutter program, we have the flexibility to adjust the way we approach things depending on what our clients, parents, need,” she said.
“I just wanted to make sure I was doing things right,” said Ekland.
The NPSP is in no way a punitive program and it is not part of social services, said O’Brien. “Most of us are active-duty military wives and sometimes a pat on the back or knowing that someone else has been where they are is all that they need,” she said.
“It just feels good to get out and meet people, especially when you know that all these moms are going through similar battles in their lives,” said Ekland. “If we can’t work through our battles with the other moms, we have trained professionals there for us if we need them.”
The NPSP is gearing up for two new offerings that should be available first quarter of the next fiscal year.
“Safety, Organize, Resilience, and Time (SORT) management will be about a two-hour class held at each of the military community centers structured around developing parent’s ability to effectively deal with the stresses of being a new parent,” said O’Brien. “It will show parents how to manage and organize their houses and turn them into homes conducive to stress free and fun parenting.”
A prenatal and post-partum fitness class is also set to be available to military spouses.
“The military already has a program like this for active duty members termed ‘Pregnancy PT,’ so it is only natural that we make one available to the spouses also,” said O’Brien.
“When the Play Morning is over, we all sing the “clean-up song.” As they sing, all the children, toddlers even, start picking up the toys and placing them in the appropriate bins. They pick up the construction paper that was for the crafts and put back the books they got out to read. It was a sight to see, the cordial coming and goings of ‘little people’ listening intently and following their instructions, so well behaved,” O’ Brien said.
For more information about the New Parent Support Program, visit their website at www.fortbraggmwr.com/npsp.php or check them out on Facebook at www.facebook.com/fortbraggfap.
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