By Chie Takano Reeves
The 8-week parenting program, “Nobody’s Perfect” (NP), had its first session on April 26, 2014, in cooperation with Toronto Public Health (TPH) and supported by Ikebata Nursery (which has generously provided its premises). This time, NP is targeting Japanese-speaking mothers who have a child or children 1 to 6 years of age.
NP was developed by Health Canada and the Departments of Health of the four Atlantic provinces in the early 1980s, and introduced nationally in 1987. JSS has provided its Japanese version since 2006 with TPH. The textbooks given to the participants are published in languages other than English and French; the Japanese textbooks are shipped from the publisher in Japan.
Based on the principles of adult learning, NP applies a mutual learning model by having participants share their knowledge and parenting experiences with the group. Group members act as resources to each other through various activities, brainstorming and discussions that are introduced by the facilitators (certified by TPH). However, it is free of charge and has various degrees of eligibility criteria depending on the communities (NP may be modified by each community and the facilitators screen potential participants before registration).ParentGroup
People may see NP as being only for parents who are having severe parenting issues or are in crisis. However, “Nobody is born knowing how to be a parent. All parents need information and support. They want their children to be healthy and happy.” JSS values these NP beliefs and understands the difficulties and challenges parents face in a culturally and linguistically different country where they often find themselves being isolated from social support. Therefore, the basic criteria JSS sets for its NP participants are threefold: (1) having some parenting issues and questions; (2) willing to share these questions with the group; and, (3) willing to actively participate and listen to others with great respect.
The facilitators of this term are Patrick Mahoney, a TPH nurse who facilitated our “couples’ version” twice in the past, and Chie Takano Reeves, a social worker at JSS. Unfortunately, we are no longer able to have Japanese-speaking TPH nurses for sessions targeting Japanese-speaking participants due to TPH’s organizational changes. Despite this challenge and potential confusion (using both English and Japanese for Japanese-speaking participants), in their first session the participants introduced each other and shared their questions and expectations actively within a positive atmosphere. I would also like to note that we are very lucky to have a great volunteer team. The program coordinator and childcare volunteers work very hard to provide quality workshop experiences as well as a safe and enjoyable playtime.
Please contact: nobodysperfect.jss@gmail.com (Yukari Seko, NP coordinator) for any questions on our NP program.