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Ask a Childbirth Educator (July 2022)

Tell me about Parents Centre’s Famous Coffee Groups?

Ah yes, our famous coffee groups!  Parents Centre has been creating coffee groups for new parents for almost 70 years and we’re very proud of them!

So, what are Parents Centre coffee groups all about?  Our programmes right through from antenatal to our postnatal programmes are all led by qualified facilitators, and that’s not the type of facilitators who will have you seated for 2 hours, watching power-point presentations, videos or listening to lectures!  Our facilitators are armed with adult teaching skills and experience, so that the programme is presented in a way where participants are part of the learning and not being taught at

Many of our programmes are run in the evening, often after a full day at work, a battle with the traffic, quick dinner then out again.  And so, we set up our programmes so that the information is provided in a fun, interactive and engaging manner.  The last thing we want you to do is get bored or fall asleep and not come back next week!  And we know that mixing up the way that learning is provided also appeals to different learning styles therefore caters to the wide variety of the learners we engage with. 

This interactive and engaging facilitation also allows participants opportunities to meet others, have a laugh, build connections, discover commonalities, etc. and from there is the seed that grows their coffee group.  Our facilitators will recognise different dynamics amongst the group and adjust the programme accordingly so that all participants get the best experience and maximise their learning, and opportunities to mix with other.

After the final session of the programme, a coffee group will be established, so that even though the programme has completed, parents can continue to meet regularly to share the joys, challenges, share tips, have a laugh, sometimes a cry and build an amazing support and friendship group.

I clearly remember attending my first antenatal class 23 years ago, looking around and thinking “Apparently I’m about to become friends with all of these people – really?” – how wrong I was!  We continued together as a larger group for several years, sharing the excitement of baby number two, and the pearls that toddlerhood brings!  Slowly some went back to work, moved town, etc. and now there are 3 of us who are still solid besties, with others who we connect in with sometimes too.  The fact that we don’t still see all of them regularly, doesn’t detract from the immense support and importance that we experienced with our early regular coffee catch ups.  They truly were lifesaving in those early days and months, navigating unchartered waters together; we got each other, got it when we said we were having a rough day, got it when we got it wrong, and got it when sometimes we had to roll our eyes.  I sometimes wonder how I would have managed to get through that time without them.

Not all of Parents Centre coffee groups stem from an antenatal or postnatal programme, many of our Centres have playgroups and music groups where parents can connect, breastfeeding clinics, special events and many of these groups also grow through volunteering at the local Centre. 

So please join us, the door is always open, and the coffee is always hot…even if baby determines that you end up drinking it cold!

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