Coolock Library was the scene of celebration, stories and dancing as 18 families marked their completion of the Preparing for Life Home Visiting programme. The children and their parents have taken part in the programme from pregnancy until they were ready to start school, with parents receiving regular visits from trained Home Visitors over the last five years.
Highlights of the graduation included a performance by ballerina, Emer Lenihan, organized by Creative Places Darndale, while storyteller Laura kept the audience spellbound with her tall tales. There were also speeches from the manager at Coolock Library and Preparing for Life Progamme Manger, Niall Sexton.
“Preparing for Life is a fantastic programme,” according to one parent. “We, as a family, gained so much valuable insight and information about our child. We took part in so many classes and courses that PFL offers routinely and implemented many of the things we learned into our day-to-day routine. We really enjoyed our time with our mentor and would highly recommend the programme to anyone considering.”
The Home Visiting programme sees a Home Visitor meet the parent(s) on a regular basis from pregnancy to age 5, providing support, advice and tip sheets relating to whatever the family is experiencing at that time.
“We had such a lovely time in PFL and were always made feel welcome and supported. I always felt comfortable talking about anything that I was having issues with and always got great advice and help from my Home Visitor,” said another parent.
“PFL has taught me so much about myself, but also my child and what I want this journey to be like,” according to another parent. “ I know it’s not always going to be fun and easy, but I know what to do when the going does get tough. I have gained so much confidence and skills that can help me to be the best I can be for me, as a mother and as a partner.”
Sue Cullen, Home Visiting Coordinator, said, “I am so proud of all our families here today. Preparing for Life is much more than a school readiness programme. It is a programme that brings about meaningful change for all. We know that every parent is an individual, with a lot of different experiences. We have the opportunity to engage parents in a participatory process allowing for rich dialogue between the Home Visitor, parent, child, and significant others.
“We create space for families to find their voice, for that voice to be heard, and to empower them to dig deep to build their confidence and capacity to reach beyond the skies. We work with families to believe anything is possible and change is possible.”
This graduation was for the families of children who were starting school in September 2021. Unfortuntely the graduation, which should have taken place last year, had to be postponed due to Covid 19.
Niall Sexton, Programme Coordinator said, “After two years of Covid lockdown, we were so pleased to be able to celebrate with our families today. The Home Visiting Team have been with the families right from pregnancy and it is just wonderful to hear how the children are enjoying school and doing so well.”
Gift bags, containing goodies from Preparing for Life, Coolock Library, Tayto and Lindt, were presented to the children, along with their certificates of completion. After the awards, the celebration was rounded off with refreshments, when home visitors, parents and children had time to chat and have fun.