Breaking bread during free parenting workshops

The Spaghetti Night Workshops aim to connect parents with young children in the community through family-style dinners and discussions



Joni Dufour

Throughout the month of May, parents are invited to share their personal experiences of child-rearing through interactive discussion and family-style dinners. Organized by McGill’s Social Equity and Diversity Education Office (SEDE) and the Riverview Community Centre, the Spaghetti Night Workshops began in 2012 as a way to connect parents in the community.                                                                                                                                             

“The goal is really to help parents feel empowered in how they raise their child,” says Anurag Dhir, the community engagement coordinator at SEDE and co-founder of the workshops. “We want to create an environment where parents feel more involved in their child’s development.”

The sessions focus on three main themes: homework help and success, family communication and development, and well-being. In the workshops, facilitators will present research-based parenting tips on how to help children succeed academically and socially. Although they are facilitated by McGill faculty members, staff and local educators, the discussions are shaped around personal experiences; topics are often based on parents suggestions and interests.

Workshops at Riverview Elementary on May 4 and Pierre Elliot Trudeau Elementary on May 11 will cover self-regulation. The May 18 session, held at Gerald McShane Elementary, will revolve around the dos and don’ts of praise and rewards. Dhir says parents who are interested in bringing workshops to their child’s school are welcome to contact him.

While parents attend the discussions, kids are looked after by volunteers and can play in the gym and computer labs or take part in arts & crafts.  Children are also invited to the spaghetti dinner that precedes the workshops. The sessions are geared towards parents with young children, but Dhir says they are looking to expand to high schools in the near future.

The Spaghetti Nights are free and are intended primarily for parents whose children attend the schools mentioned above but the general public is welcome, space permitting. The workshops take place between 5:30 p.m. and 8 p.m.

For more information, visit bit.ly/2oZSZBf 

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