The Racine County University of Wisconsin-Extension recently began offering the free, six-week Positive Solutions workshops for parents and caregivers of children ages 6 and younger. The program has already reached 41 families, but Wedig-Kirsch of UW-Extension is hoping to reach more. The six sessions each have a theme: building relationships, the importance of play and social skills, routines and expectations and emotional vocabulary. The last two sessions are focused on addressing challenging behavior. The Positive Solutions workshops for parents complement the Pyramid Model for social-emotional learning used in Racine Unified’s 4-year-old kindergarten classrooms. Unified adopted the model approximately four years ago, according to Joleen Carlson, Unified’s 4K coordinator.
The workshop series is the result of partnerships between the United Way of Racine County, Racine Unified School District, Kindergarten Readiness Network of Higher Expectations for Racine County, Racine Collaborative for Children’s Mental Health, the Healthier Wisconsin Partnership Program and the Racine County UW-Extension. Higher Expectations has been bringing community partners together around Kindergarten Readiness since 2014, and together we've developed a kindergarten readiness checklist which identifies key skills that children should have as they enter 5-year-old kindergarten. Positive Solutions workshops build on these skills in order to support at-home learning. You can learn more about the impact of these workshops in the Journal Times.