Parenting 101

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White Shield Center mothers learn the importance of reading and books.

by Teresa Engel –

[Photo by Teresa Engel]

How much should I feed my baby? When do I start potty training? When—please—can I get some sleep? Every mother desires a good start for her child’s life and wants to nurture that child into a loving, caring and successful adult.

Through a program called “Bring Me a Book” and its First Teacher’s Workshop, the Junior League of Portland (Oregon) visited The Salvation Army White Shield Center to teach the girls—all under 18—in the Parenting Program the importance of reading to their babies from birth.

Erica Wichmann, co-chair of the Portland “Bring Me a Book” course, told the girls to “Make it fun! Grow that love of learning and reading!”

The girls learned how to make time for reading; how to interact with their babies while reading; how to use sounds and voice inflection to make reading fun; how to use books as a learning tool for the alphabet, colors and animals; and where and how to pick out books.

The tutors provided each girl three books for their personal collection, including I Kissed the Baby—a class favorite. They also gave the center a bookshelf stocked with new books.

“Bring Me A Book is a great way to connect with your child. It teaches us new ways to read a book and bond,” a program participant said.

With an emphasis on early childhood development, the Junior League’s mission is to promote voluntarism, develop leaders and make a positive impact in the community.

The White Shield Center is a state referral facility for pregnant, parenting and “at risk” teens. It offers an environment that fosters good mothering and decision-making for its participants. Diane Brandsma is the director.

Together, these groups positively influence new or soon-to-be mothers with a fun way to bond with their babies while encouraging love and education.

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