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Nurturing oneself Understanding developmentUse of authority to guideShowing love to childrenEnabling children to learn and succeedServing as an advocate for one's child and children in the community

spacerThe National Extension Parent Education Model was published in 1994 through the efforts of Ron Daly, the National Program Leader for Human Development in the Washington DC office of the Cooperative Extension Service. The authors of the report were Dot Cudaback (California), H. Wallace Goddard (Alabama), Judy Myers-Walls (Indiana), and Charles A. Smith (Kansas). Although these state specialists were responsible for writing the report, the ideas evolved through a process of revision involving all state specialists in human development and county extension agents with an interest in parenting. This evolution is described in the original document that you can download below.

spacerThe assumptions and underlying guiding principles of the model are described in some detail in the report. I think two are especially important.

spacerCommon Ground

spacerNEPEM is not a parent education program. It is a list of 29 critical parenting practices organized into six themes. Together, these practices identified issues that Extension professionals across the entire United States could agree were important. The NEPEM model is not exclusive. There were (and I'm sure are) objectives that parent educators view as important that are not included in the model. The key is to understand that the model was and is supposed to serve as common ground for all who work in the Extension system.

spacerSome themes and practices could have been, for example, recommended by someone in Oregon but were not included in the model because professionals in Georgia could not agree to their importance. Common ground could only be achieved by reaching national consensus, a task that took about two years to complete.

spacerWhen you examine the model, the question to ask yourself is, "Do I agree with this theme and practice?" instead of "Does this model include everything I think is important?"

spacerCultural application

spacerThe authors worked very hard to write practices and identify themes that have extensive cross-cultural relevance within the United States. Take for example, two practices, one from Nurture, the other from Advocate.

Express their feelings of affection in both word and action.
spacerParents in different cultures will express affection in dramatically different ways. Some cultural expressions emphasize physical contact, others do not. Yet all children must have some experience that demonstrates to them that they are valued within their primary care group.

Find, use, and create community resources when needed to benefit one's children and the community of children.
spacerEvery parent is challenged to use whatever resources are available from the community to help their children. How they do this will vary from one parent to another, depending on personal style and cultural learning.

spacerThe authors do not claim these themes and practices have worldwide relevance (although they might). Our focus was on American children and their parents. Even so, we know that cultural and regional influence is significant. However, we wanted to come up with wording that brought all parents together in emphasizing our commonalties, not our differences.

spacerFeel free to download the full report by clicking on the link below. It is an Adobe Acrobat pdf file less than 800k in size. Keep in mind that some of the programs described in the report as examples may be out-of-date. They still serve, however, as useful examples of NEPEM themes. Feel free to make copies of the publication if you wish. If you have accessed this page with a MS Windows browser, just right click on the link and then "save as" to download to a directory of your choice on your computer.

Download the NEPEM report (nepem.pdf)

spacerReaders are encouraged to quote freely from the publication. Please use an appropriate reference and the following citation: Smith, C. A., Cudaback, D., Goddard, H. W., & Myers-Walls, J. (1994). National Extension Parent Education Model. Manhattan, Kansas: Kansas Cooperative Extension Service.

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