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Schools get Parent Reaching Out grants

by Chris Daponte

MOOREFIELD - Students at Maryborough Public School are making an extra effort to get better sleep, eat healthier and exercise more, while also reducing “screen time” and consuming less sugar.

The “3 up, 2 down” program supported by the Wellington-Dufferin Guelph Public Health unit (WDGPH), is part of the school’s efforts to encourage healthy and active lifestyles.

Those efforts received a boost last week, when the provincial government announced Moorefield Public was among three schools to receive Parent Reaching Out (PRO) grants.

Maryborough Public will get $500 for an after-school snack program, while Alma Public School gets $1,000 for a workshop on effective communication for parents, and St. Mary Catholic School in Mount Forest will receive $1,000 for a social networking workshop for parents.

“We are extremely grateful for the support provided by the Parents Reaching Out Grant at Maryborough Public School,” said principal Dianne Fitzgerald. The school will use the money to raise awareness through communications sent home to parents around healthy, nutritious food, she explained. A dietician will lead an information session for parents over the school year, in an effort to give them resources, help them learn techniques and recipes to use at home and teach shopping for and making nutritious snacks.

“Research shows that engaged parents motivate their children to earn higher grades, develop better behaviour and social skills, and continue their education beyond high school,” said Perth-Wellington MPP John Wilkinson, who made the funding announcement in Moorefield on Oct. 22.

Fitzgerald told the packed gymnasium one thing parents should realize is, “It actually is cheaper to buy real vegetables and real food than it is to buy all that packaged stuff.”

She compared human bodies to cars, noting both need the right type of fuel.

“So it’s important to eat healthy food. And that’s one of the things our whole school - every student - will be working on this year. That’s what our program is all about.”

UGDSB representative Sue Krueger thanked Wilkinson for the grant.

Trustee Bruce Schieck said during recent all candidate debates one of the questions asked was how the board could better communicate with parents, and the three grants will address that question.

PRO grants support school-based and regional projects that help identify barriers to parent engagement in communities, and find local solutions to help parents get more involved. The grants are locally driven by parent organizations and school councils.


The funding for Alma Public School will cover an interactive workshop for parents to provide awareness of the style of communication that is most effective with children.

The workshops will provide tools and resources around emotional intelligence, and teach parents how and when to coach or provide feedback.

Mount Forest

In the St. Mary workshop, parents will learn valuable information on how to be internet savvy. The workshop will address why the Internet is so engaging, exciting and sometimes addicting for youths.

Facebook, MySpace, YouTube, Twitter, blogs, texting and parental controls will  presented and discussed. Safe communication, appropriate social behavior, presenting one’s image and issues around freedom of expression will also be discussed.

It is hoped this knowledge will enable parents to be active participants in their child’s academic achievement.


Vol 43 Issue 44


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