Iowa State University

Sally Williams, College of Family and Consumer Sciences, (515) 294-2320
Judy Brun, College of Family and Consumer Sciences, (515) 294-6444
Michelle Johnson, News Service, (515) 294-8986


AMES, Iowa -- A parenting curriculum developed by researchers in Iowa State University's College of Family and Consumer Sciences is receiving high praise from secondary school family and consumer sciences teachers in Iowa and other states.

The curriculum integrates communications skills like reading, writing, speaking and presenting with parenting education. Students learn about parenting through activities such as reading poetry, writing and acting out plays, producing a newsletter and keeping journals.

The curriculum was developed by a team of researchers -- including professor Sally Williams, professor and chair Judy Brun and graduate assistant Betty Trost -- from the college's department of family and consumer sciences education and studies.

"Parenting education is essential for today's young people," said Williams. "Communications skills are also essential for their success in the workplace and in society. It is our hope that this curriculum can provide them with both."

The eight-week curriculum covers subjects such as the roles and responsibilities of a parent, communication among family members, the conception process, the growth and development of a child, child abuse and teen pregnancy.

Deterring teen pregnancy is not a key goal of the curriculum, said Williams. However, it does provide a realistic picture of teen parenthood, including a visit from a teen mother or father.

"This curriculum emphasizes that whether students have children of their own or not, they will always interact with children in some way," said Williams. "Our goal is to prepare them for that interaction."

"This is what we should be teaching," said Rhona Beltz, a ninth grade teacher from Latrobe, Penn., who used the curriculum during the 1995-96 academic year. "The ISU parenting curriculum deals with important issues and it's full of innovative teaching ideas."

The curriculum can be incorporated into most any high school family and consumer sciences course, said Williams.


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