"I gained insight into how having a good understanding, and being aware of, what’s happening for me emotionally is crucial to how I can work more effectively with my clients, co-workers, family and friends. The safe connections that I was able to make with other professionals in the course were key for learning.
Ann [Hefferan] is a brilliant and passionate group facilitator. She was very down-to-earth with such a beautiful, warm way of working with people. She is very supportive of the emotional needs of the group participants. She also has a great sense of humour to help professionals embrace their inner child and have more fun with the work we do, especially when working with children."
Samantha Harris (Kids are First, Anglicare)
"I learned to better ‘connect’ with parents, and how to create an emotionally-safe space for them to face, and work through, emotional issues - their own and their children's. I am also much better at reading and realising when parents need me to listen to them, and when they need guidance and information.
I have adopted a number of the strategies (e.g. Playlistening, Staylistening and Special Time) with children and young people in my work, as well as in my personal life.
Would I recommend this course and approach to others? Absolutely - it's life changing!"
Meagan Lo (Psychologist, formerly Time for Kids)
"I loved the whole course.
I think doing these support groups in each session were very powerful. Learning and understanding the connection between a child and parent is just so powerful and so important.
I think this course gave me a greater depth of understanding about how important it is to connect with children.
Now in my practice I make sure that I pay more attention to observing the connection between parent and their children and making sure I have a clear picture and understanding of what is happening for the child and the parent and how it’s all related."
Anita Duczkowski-Mikolajski (Centacare)
"It's been really helpful to learn about the limbic system in the brain and the role it plays in whether children feel connected or disconnected. I've learnt about the healing role of emotional releases like crying, tantrums and laughing and I've taken opportunities to help children release tension this way, know it is for a good reason.
The course has helped me to be there for children on a deeper level."
Megan (Babies Room, Forbes Children's Centre for Early Childhood Development and Parenting)
"In my practice I now continually evaluate whether I am connecting with children in my care, rather than undermine all of my hard work and in order to complement goals, like helping children learn, socialise and play creatively. Rather than distracting children when I can see that they are feeling disconnected, I am enjoying just being there and giving warm eye contact and, where I can and it's needed, listening to emotional release so that they can reconnect. In the case of tantrums, I call this 'emotional outbursts'."
Kim Cook (Assistant Director, Forbes Children's Centre for Early Childhood Development and Parenting)
"In the 'Toddler Room' we find that, using the Parenting by Connection approach, the children are genuinely sharing. Their sharing is not due to adult expectations, but because they want to share.
Also, they have respect for equipment and are very engaged."
Glenda Houldsworth, Blackwood Community Children's Centre
"The program gave us a way to address the children's emotions and off-track behaviour that resulted in our whole centre becoming calmer and more playful."
Jill Brodyk (Director, Happy Valley Community Children's Centre)
"As an Area Manager of 8 centres, I have developed skills to assist in training and mentoring our centre employees and have begun this project."
(Southern Area Manager, ABC (now Goodstart) Childcare Centres)
"That was, without a doubt, the best professional development I've ever undertaken - it was gold. It blew me away."
Morgan Miller (Family Services Co-ordinator, O'Sullivan Beach Centre for Early Childhood Develoment and Parenting)
"We've incorporated Parenting by Connection into our case planning process. Parenting by Connection is now intertwined in a profound way into the way we work with families. The approach delivers important outcomes for families, additional to those that result from the practical support that we provide for families."
Anthony O'Brien (Manager, Family Care & Sustainability, Aboriginal Family Support Services Inc (AFSS))
"It has to be acknowledged that no body of formal evaluation, nor any literature written so far in relation to Parenting by Connection principles and programs, can adequately reflect the real impact that this approach to parenting has on the indivduals and the community."
(Co-ordinator of Programs for families serviced by Families SA)
"The young women responded well to the Parenting by Connection Instructor during the sessions, showing that they had quickly felt they could trust her. Most of our clients have complex needs and have experiences of being parented poorly themselves. It seemed that they found these sessions to be helpful in providing a safe space to share and be heard and to reflect on their own experiences both of being parented and of parenting.
The core information on Parenting by Connection that the Instructor shared, invited us all to have a huge positive shift in our thinking around children's behaviours and needs. The young women were challenged to apply their new learning to their parenting both during the session playtimes and during the week between each session. They were also given opportunities to experience and to recognise their own needs around being listened to."
(Co-ordinator of a young, homeless mothers residential program, Coolock House)
"I have heard the staff talking about giving their children 'listening time' and 'bringing them in' so they can have time together when the children's behaviours are hard for them to sort out by themselves."
(Director, Blackwood Community Child Care Centre)
"I have found the Parenting by Connection approach to be unparalleled and absolutely unique, particularly in its understanding of, and approach to, children's off-track behaviour (signals for connection) and children's emotions. It is also distinctive and insightful in its strategies to support parents."
Merridee Dangerfield (Community Development Co-ordinator, Centre for Early Childhood Development - Hackham, then Forbes, Plympton)
"Community Transformations Inc’s Parenting by Connection program brings a valuable program to a severely disadvantaged community. The program supports one of our goals to build community capacity and resilience. It focuses on relationships, listening (adult to child, and between adult to adult), structured support for parents and staff, and children’s emotional wellbeing, leading to the development of stronger families and communities. This program also supports the development of children to their optimum potential. These are all areas that have been identified by parents, carers and service providers as areas of need and wanting programs to meet those needs. Here are some quotes from parents who have taken Building Emotional Understanding courses through our Centre:
'I can't believe the difference this has made to my family and my child, but also me as a person. I finally now understand why I am the way I am, and how I can change it for my child.' (A parent who attended the course in June 2009 whose childhood experience was in foster care.)
We welcome the opportunity to work in collaboration with Community Transformations and look forward to working with them to enhance opportunities for families with young children in our local community, but also in surrounding communities."
(Director of a Children's and Parents' Centre)