How can you teach your kids to be responsible and kind?

Sign up now for a winter semester PAIIR class. Open to families with children ages birth to kindergarten enrollment, PAIIR is Rochester Public Schools Early Childhood Family Education program and offers one-time and ongoing, online and in-person classes.

“PAIIR has a lot to offer. We have classes based on the age of your child, classes that are based on a certain topic or focus (STEAM/STEM, parenting strategies, challenging behaviors), classes that are all about play with purpose,” said Erica Schumacher, RPS Early Childhood Family Services manager. “This semester we’ll offer a new class, Mental Health After Baby. It’s co-taught by a PAIIR parent educator and mental health professional. The focus is on post-partum, helping parents manage and navigate — and create a support system. We’re also offering a six-session online course on positive discipline. Parents will learn tools to teach their children self-discipline, responsibility, kindness, and respect for self and others.”

Offering classes in the fall, winter and spring, Parents Are Important In Rochester’s winter semester classes to begin the week of Jan. 13 and registration are open now. Classes are taught by licensed parent educators and early childhood teachers and are held at RPS buildings including Northrop Education Center and Hoover Early Learning School.

“It’s a unique experience, to be able to attend class with parents who have children your child’s age, who are going through similar stages and life experiences,” said Schumacher. “Last year we had almost 2,500 parents and children participate in PAIIR classes and events. PAIIR is a great opportunity to meet other parents, get connected to resources in the community and create a sense of community.”

In addition to classes, PAIIR offers two support groups: Parenting a Child with Special Needs and Single Parent Support Group. Held monthly, the support groups offer a traditional PAIIR class experience — PACT (Parent And Children Time) followed by children’s playing and learning time and parent discussion – but also provide the opportunity for parents with common experiences or concerns to come together for encouragement, advice, and support.

“The PAIIR support groups are really specific to your needs as a parent and what you are experiencing,” said Schumacher. “It’s an opportunity for parents who have a similar lifestyle or similar needs, to come together, to connect and find community.”

The PAIIR winter registration newsletter is available online or, in hard copy, at the PAIIR office. PAIIR offers a sliding fee scale for classes. Fees can be waived or reduced if family circumstances would make payment a hardship.

Lindy Lange is a licensed school social worker. Family Time appears every Wednesday. Up next: Help celebrate 100 years of back-to-nature fun at Whitewater State Park’s Centennial Event: Winter Celebration.