Romania: Parenting program in early childhood education
The National Parenting Education Program in Pre-School Education was launched in 2001 by a partnership composed of UNICEF, the Romania’s Ministry of Education and Research, and MATRA, a financing programme of the Ministry of External Affairs of the Netherlands in response to research that showed that many Romanian parents were not well-equipped to participate in their child’s education. Initially, the programme provided training on parental education to specialists in the country; later, it expanded to include training to teachers. By 2005, the programme was incorporated into Romania’s National Strategy on Early Education.
The programme, still supported by UNICEF, trains trainers in the 41 Romanian counties. The trainers then train pre-school and school teachers who, in turn, train parents. Teachers are provided with manuals, video tapes and additional materials for their work with parents. The lessons focus on understanding early childhood and on knowing how to praise and support children and how to avoid using physical punishment. Generally, two instructors teach 10 parents over five weeks, with a two-hour lesson each week. Parents are evaluated at the end of the course, and a follow-up session is offered six months later. In 2011, more than 90,000 parents were trained in some 5,000 kindergartens and more than 600 schools.