Today we’d like to introduce you to Theresa Wiggins.
Theresa, let’s start with your story. We’d love to hear how you got started and how the journey has been so far.
I was a public school teacher for 13 years. Eight of those years were as special as educator and five as a classroom teacher. When my third child was born, it made the most sense, financially and logistically to stay home for a year.
I loved teaching and always planned to go back. As one year home turned into a few – I realized how much I enjoyed supporting my own children’s education from home. That is to say, I loved supporting their teachers and the curriculum they were learning by providing routines, structure, and follow up at home. I realized that other parents, especially if they weren’t in education, wouldn’t necessarily know how best to support their child’s education. Why would they?
At the same time, even with my knowledge of how schools work and how to support my children, I would still hit speed bumps from their (very good) school. So, I became really interested in the field of Family Engagement. That was the genesis of Village Parenting: a desire to be a bridge between home and school. From those first seeds, other iterations of my work have evolved.
My work includes consulting with school districts on effective Family Engagement, providing parent workshops, teaching mindfulness to kids k-12 as well as school staff, and teaching the behavior management program Triple P to parents of 2-12-year-olds.
Great, so let’s dig a little deeper into the story – has it been an easy path overall and if not, what were the challenges you’ve had to overcome?
Definitely not! I have had to overcome “imposter syndrome” as many small business owners do. In the beginning, I had to field a lot of questions from my inner critic. (“Do people really need your help?”, “What makes you think YOU can help them anyway?). I stayed my course and recognize these doubts as part of any good creative process.
Funding has been another struggle in my work with school districts. It is no secret that most schools are struggling to work within the confines of their budgets. The beauty, though, of what I offer schools is that if they are committed to the task of improving family engagement, the dividends it pays are immeasurable. Truly partnering with parents and other caregivers as part of a child’s team improves academic and behavioral outcomes for students.
Similarly with mindfulness, if a school is committed to truly integrating mindfulness into their classrooms and school culture, research has shown that the top two outcomes are improved attention and emotional self-regulation in students. So, while my services require an investment, the benefits improve the quality of life and outcomes for teachers and students alike.
Please tell us about Village Parenting.
Village Parenting specializes in Family Engagement, Mindfulness and Behavior Management. These three areas of specialization all focus on the education and happiness of the whole child. I believe that kids do best when they have boundaries, understand that happiness is not connected to achievement, and know that the adults in their lives are partnering for their best interest.
In the area of Family Engagement, I work with districts on the administrative, school, and classroom level. This work can look a lot of different ways. I help districts or schools determine the needs of their particular community. I provide training to staff for improving communication and family engagement. I also provide parenting workshops to support families in the district.
I love teaching mindfulness and am trained in the Mindful Schools Curriculum. This curriculum is a series of brief lessons taught over an 8 week period, designed to be non-intrusive to the already-stretched-thin school day. I teach the curriculum for students k-12 and to staff as well. I also teach it to families or private groups who are interested.
As an accredited Triple P Practitioner, I teach behavior management to parents of 2-12-year-olds. This is an in-home program that takes place over 10-12 sessions. The results are so gratifying to see; families end up increasing calm and decreasing chaos! In addition, I am also able to support parents who are looking to understand school reports or how to communicate with the school in a non-adversarial way.
Do you look back particularly fondly on any memories from childhood?
I was about 7 and my eldest brother John was about 20 at the time. The family pulled into the driveway. It was dark and everyone started to head inside. John whispered to me to climb on his back so we could “Take the Long Way Home”. I didn’t really know what he was talking about, but I obliged. He proceeded to run with me on his back, around the perimeter of the house in the dark of night.
I remember bouncing and laughing and being thrilled to have some special time with him. John brought me inside and up to his room so he could introduce me to the song “Take the Long Way Home” by Supertramp. This was the first of many songs and lyrics that we would listen to and sing along together. I loved this special time with my oldest brother!
- Website: www.villageparenting.net
- Phone: (781) 315-6075
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/villagep/
- Twitter: https://twitter.com/theresavillage
- Other: https://www.vitalcorpswellness.com/blog/lvcs-0047-theresa-wiggins