College staffers celebrate parent education

Four Peninsula College family life and early childhood educators were in Tacoma on Oct. 23 to help celebrate the 70th anniversary of parenting education in Washington.

Local educators who attended were Pam Maurides of Family Life Education; Yvette Cline of Early Childhood Education; Mary Lou Melly, director of the Peninsula College Child Care Centers; and Barbara Clampett, retired administrator for the college's early childhood programs. Clampett also was one of the early movers in family life education in the state.

Last year, Peninsula College's parenting education programs served 244 families across the college district, from Port Angles to Joyce, Forks, Clallam Bay,

Sequim and Port Townsend.

The celebration was held at Clover Park Technical College in Tacoma. The keynote address was given by state Rep. Ruth Kagi, D_Shoreline, chairwoman of the House's Early Learning and Children's Services Committee. Kagi is the 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 was hosted by the Organization of Parent Education Programs, a professional organization of program coordinators from state community and technical colleges.

Maurides is on the board of OPEP, a group that has been meeting since the 1970s to share information, curriculum and ideas for enriching the parent_child educational experience.

"Parent cooperative preschools and parenting education programs provide an enriching experience for both parents and children as they learn and grow together," Maurides said. "Parents of toddlers and preschoolers are concurrently enrolled in a parenting class through Peninsula College and the parents have the opportunity not only to participate in activities with their children, but to also get support and discuss parenting topics and practice skills in class."

Parenting education began in 1938 when a group of Seattle women formed a preschool group. Now, 70 years later, 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 statewide are touched by these programs each year.

Peninsula College has been serving families in these programs since 1973 when Clampett developed the parenting education programs through Peninsula College.

For more information on Peninsula College's parent education programs and cooperative preschools, call Maurides at 417-6496, or go online to

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