METIV has been providing interventions for parents, children, and educational staff in Sderot and its surrounding areas since 2004. Through the experience gathered by implementing the different interventions, and better familiarity (attunement) with the local needs, METIV realized that in order to provide young children in these areas with the best care we needed to address their parents’ needs as well. Collaborating with parenting professionals in Israel, our staff developed unique programs focused on providing parents with knowledge and practical tools of coping with stressful and traumatic experiences as parents of young children.
The Parents’ Place program (NAMAL, in Hebrew) includes five different modules of interventions with parents, children and educational staff:
1. A parent-child playgroup program in collaboration with Dr. Esther Cohen of the Hebrew University.
2. A training program for educational staff based on a program by Prof. Pnina Klein of the Bar Ilan University.
3. A parental therapy group in collaboration with the local psychological services at Sha’ar Hanegev, utilizing their local experience and therapists.
4. Bi-weekly questions & answers sessions with the local project coordinator for parents and staff, addressing personal issues and questions regarding parenting issues.
5. Monthly lectures provided by professionals and experts, discussing issues of parenting and child development, which are open to the general public.
Parents’ Place consists of 8-10 afternoon group meetings in the DCC’s, in which parent-child dyads participate. The meetings consist of playful and fun music, craft, drama and movement activities which have been suited for children ages 2-3 years old and their parents. At the end of each session, summary sheets including a summary of activities, song lyrics, and a simple explanation of the content that was introduced through the activities are handed out to the parents. Following the activities, dinner is served for all the participants at no cost to them. The concepts presented during each meeting are based on themes conceptualized and written by Dr. Esther Cohen of the Hebrew University, a well known professional on the subject of parenting. Together with her, these themes have been integrated into playful parent-child activities by the project’s staff.
The main themes of the program are:
- The parent-child bond as a secure, and protective base
- Promotion of independence and self esteem
- Playfulness, humor and creativity
- Reflection of actions and intentions
- Expression and reflection of feelings (emphasis on fear and anger, as well as the shift between positive and negative feelings)
- Playing through trauma