Schools and children’s centres know that what happens at home has an enormous impact on children’s ability to thrive. Whether you bring in one of our volunteer coaches, or train a member of staff to deliver the programme in-house, Parent Gym’s free six-week programme helps parents to develop the skills to provide a nurturing family environment. This enables their children to make the most of all the learning opportunities which you offer.
All our work is delivered at no cost to state-funded schools and centres.
i. Host a programme delivered by one of our volunteer coaches
We can match you with one of our fantastic network of volunteer coaches to deliver the Parent Gym programme in your school or centre.
Parent Gym has been delivered to more than 5000 parents since 2010 - it consists of six, weekly, two-hour sessions facilitated by your Parent Gym coach. Sessions are practical and interactive, with a different parenting theme each week. They’re filled with evidence-based tools and techniques that parents can easily apply at home. The sessions are supported by high-quality, specially-designed magazines. Each week parents choose a ‘mission’ to try out at home and report back to the group on successes and trials.
Our volunteer coaches are:
The benefits of the programme for schools and centres include: increased parental self-efficacy and mental well-being; improvements to home routines; children showing improvements in behaviour, attendance and ‘school readiness’. Many parents have told us that a key benefit of attending Parent Gym is the formation of a parent community – the final Parent Gym session equips parents to continue running their own support group, which can even become the foundation for a first Parent Teacher Association. Schools and children’s centres often use the feedback reports from Parent Gym programmes to show Ofsted how they meet the criteria they are inspected against.
Read on below for more information on the support we provide to schools and centres, and how to bring Parent Gym to your organisation.
ii. Train a member of staff to deliver the programme in-house
Parent Gym is delighted to offer free training to staff wishing to deliver the programme in their school or centre.
We provide high-quality facilitation training, all the materials you need to run Parent Gym programmes, and ongoing support and mentoring – all at no cost to the school or children’s centre.
Who is eligible to train as a coach? Staff members considering training with us need to be confident, warm, full of infectious energy and passionate about supporting parents.
Training with us is a selective process. We only accredit coaches who can demonstrate their ability to coach using our model.
In order to train you need to be a Mum or Dad with kids over three years old.
Most of our coaches also have:
If the final assessment shows a strong fit with our style of coaching, the coach is certified and ready to deliver Parent Gym in their school or centre.
Click here for a printable leaflet outlining our in-house training offer.
Getting my kids to eat vegetables had always been a struggle, but I learnt to be more persistent with things than I had been before. Usually if my son didn't like something, I just wouldn't give it to him but I got the idea of consistently putting it on his plate every meal time and eventually it worked. He realised that vegetables are not all bad and is now happily eating carrots!
My children are 6 and 8 so I have also had some problems with sibling rivalry, but Parent Gym has helped me to make a discipline system, so that they always know what will happen when they fight. I now also make sure that I spend a specific amount of alone time with each child, so that they both feel important and it has really helped to stop with their fighting and make the house a much calmer place.
Parent Gym will help you ensure the programme
is a success in your school or children's centre.
You will receive a centre support pack with everything you need to get parents signed up for the programme. The pack includes full colour flyers, posters, digital materials, and tips and guidance which has worked for other centres. We also offer text message reminders for your parents. You can call us directly in the office at any time for practical advice.
For our in-house coaches we also provide extensive support and guidance in preparing to deliver your Parent Gym programme. This includes a personal Coach Mentor, who will be in touch to provide guidance and talk through any challenges as they arise.
All our coaches are creative, confident and sensitive parents and can welcome even the most reluctant parents with a warm smile. Parent Gyms have run everywhere from classrooms and canteens to sports field viewing spaces. Tea and biscuits are always welcoming so we encourage you to offer these if you can. When parents come they receive a free full colour magazine each week, packed with practical tips.
Since we started delivering programmes, in 2010, 96% of parents have rated their Parent Gym sessions as ‘Very Good’ or ‘Excellent’.
All parents who complete the programme receive a certificate in the final session – it is always a nice touch if the school Head or centre manager can drop in and congratulate the parents. We also encourage parents to keep meeting – coaches provide a guide on how they could structure this with some tips to keep them going. If you have a space you can keep free after the programme for parents to keep meeting, that would be great.
Our in-house coaches will receive a feedback visit from their Coach Mentor during their programme, with detailed developmental feedback that they can reflect on and apply when they run their next Parent Gym programme.