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Building parent confidence

Kent ISD — Those who attended the early childhood conference Empowering Parents on Sept. 9 said they found it to be enlightening and informative. 

“Having shared experiences to talk to other parents and the support and encouragement helps me gain confidence as a parent,” said Stephanie Witherspoon, who attended the conference and participated in a parent panel.

Another parent in the Bright Beginnings program said she appreciated the opportunity to have classes such as the ones offered at the conference, adding “the more we know, the better we can be for our children.”

The one-day event included breakfast and an opportunity to visit with community partner resource tables. A keynote presentation featured parents who discussed their experiences in early childhood programs and how such programs could better support families. 

Breakout sessions were offered on such topics as self-care, supporting positive behaviors, raising successful eaters, kindergarten readiness, and communication and language. Each session offered corresponding take-home supplies to extend the learning. 

Collaboration with area partners in early childhood, including Bright Beginnings, Early On, Great Start Readiness Program, Great Start to Quality, First Steps Kent and the Ready by Five Early Childhood millage, helped make the conference possible.

Read more from Kent ISD: 
Hot off the 3D printer: communication equity
Intentional space inspire and connect students

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Joanne Bailey-Boorsma
Joanne Bailey-Boorsma
Joanne Bailey-Boorsma is a reporter covering Kent ISD, Godwin Heights, Kelloggsville, Forest Hills and Comstock Park. The salutatorian for the Hartland Public Schools class of 1985, she changed her colors from blue and maize to green and white by attending Michigan State University, where she majored in journalism. Joanne moved to the Grand Rapids area in 1989, where she started her journalism career at the Advance Newspapers. She later became the editor for On-the-Town magazine, a local arts and entertainment publication. Her eldest daughter is a nurse, working in Holland, and her youngest attends Oakland University. Both are graduates from Byron Center High School. She is a volunteer for the Van Singel Fine Arts Advisory Board and the Kent District Library. In her free time, Joanne enjoys spending time with her family, checking out local theater and keeping up with all the exchange students they have hosted through the years. Read Joanne's full bio


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