Tips For Parents
How To Start a Parent Support Group
Both parents and schools can benefit from parent support groups. Parenting a gifted child can be a lonely journey if you don't reach out to others who have experienced, or are facing, similar situations. With the support of others in your community it is far more likely that you will successfully navigate your child's school years. Becoming well informed about gifted education issues will help the parents in your group become a proactive and positive influence in their child's life.
Be Clear on the Purpose
The basic objective of parent groups can vary. Although one group can serve multiple functions, the main reason for your group will help determine how it can best be organized. Start small. Find one, two, or a handful of individuals who share your vision. Setting up clear expectations and common goals and ideology is crucial to the success of the group. The following suggestions might prove helpful as you begin this process.
Carefully Review Your Objectives
Joining with others who share your enthusiasm for gifted education can be exciting; however, don't let that tempt you to take on too many things at once.
What is the primary purpose of your group?
Who are you trying to reach?
How will you find members?
How will you work with other organizations (schools, groups, etc.)?
Where will you meet?
Keep the School Informed
Finding the right balance of involvement at a school can be a delicate issue because teachers can easily misinterpret the "one-two" forceful combination of strong interest and solid information coming from parents. Aim to establish a team approach with your school or district. Try to keep the group non-adversarial. It helps if the group is organized and functioning before reacting to any school problems, such as a proposed cut in programming. Keep to a prepared program or agenda, no matter how simple.
Read the articles from the March 2003 Parenting for High Potential:
Advocating for Talented Youth
Talking a Larger Stand for Gifted Education: Your State…And Beyond
Be Practical - Effective Advocacy in Small Town America
Contact the NAGC affiliate in your state as many have parent groups already organized to accomplish these goals.
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