Leading Education Expert Looks at Parent Education in the 21st Century


The University of Worcester's Professor Mary Nolan, the UK's first Professor of Perinatal Education, will give a free lecture about the driving forces behind antenatal and early parent education, designed to support mothers and fathers across the transition to parenthood, during the last 150 years and particularly in recent times.

She will also question the purpose of such education and whether we are placing too much responsibility on parents to "cure a sick society".

In a free talk at the Hive, on December 7 at 6pm, Professor Nolan will look at who is driving the parent education agenda, what education parents want, particularly fathers, and how they want to receive information and support.

She will ask whether education for parenting is something mothers and fathers feel they need, or whether it is something that professionals and government feel they should have, and whether parents have ever been asked what they want to learn in readiness for the arrival of a new baby.

Entitled "Parent Education for the 21st Century", Professor Nolan will touch on UK policy on the education of parents and the United Nations" declaration on parent education.

She will also discuss what a contemporary parent education programme looks like.

"There have been many early parent education programmes designed over the last 20 years," said Professor Nolan.

"These have moved well beyond the topics of labour and birth to including information about parents" relationship with their unborn and newborn baby, and how they can support their baby's emotional and social development as well as his or her physical health.

"There are some serious questions to ask about the various agendas underpinning early parent education. Are we trying to make a difference to the lives of young children through enhancing parenting skills, or are we hoping that "better" parenting can cure the ills of society?"

Professor Mary Nolan has worked for 30 years as a birth and early parenting educator across the UK.

She has published widely in academic and lay journals on early parent education and has researched the needs of men and young people in preparation for parenthood.