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Mixing books and babies all part of teen mum school

Evonne Barry
From:Herald Sun
April 25, 201212:00AM

TEEN mums are being taught parenting in a bub-friendly alternative to high school.

The course has been written especially for young mums, and covers everything from cooking nutritious meals for their tots to running a household budget.

And their babies are welcome in class, too.

Program manager Jane Davey, from Preston Reservoir Adult Community Education, spent about six months writing the "young mums" curriculum, which has been formally approved as credits towards the Victorian Certificate of Applied Learning.

Among the class of 2012 are Madison Laidlaw, 17, and Mel Whiting, 20.

The year 11 mums say their motivation to learn has never been higher.

Both experienced the isolation that often accompanies teenage motherhood.

"People would tell me I was a horrible person for having a kid so young," said Ms Whiting, mother of Jaylen, 2.

"That's hard, because people don't know your situation.

"When Jaylen got to a certain age, I wanted to show him what you can do with your life. I want to be a childcare worker."

Ms Laidlaw, mother of Brayden, four months, has also learnt to ignore the knockers and return to complete her education.

"I've lost touch with my old friends because they thought they had different priorities," she said.

"In the beginning I felt I was missing out, in the sense of being a teenager. But that doesn't matter to me anymore. The way Brayden looks at me when he wakes up in the morning ... I love that."

The course, to be launched by Higher Education and Skills Minister Peter Hall tomorrow, involves two days of face-to-face tutelage a week, plus three days completed online.

Ms Davey said the "young mums" class faced unique challenges, but participants also were well suited to studying.

"When you have a baby, you automatically pick up an organised gene," she said.


Make sure you don't isolate yourself

Be proud to be a mum

When you cook meals, make several extra serves to freeze for later

Ring your local council and see what support is available

Plan ''you'' time. Even 10 minutes a day doing something you enjoy can make all the difference

Don't make the bed if you don't want to

Remember that being a mum is amazing in itself; you don't have to do the other 1000 things to make you a super-mum

Write a journal to give to your baby for their 21st birthday. It makes you reflect on the good and funny bits

Always have a change of clothes for yourself in the nappy bag as well as for bub - you will need them one day

Remember that babies aren't naughty - they cry for a reason, not to anger or annoy you

You choose what advice you take; you know your baby best

Source: Jane Davey, Manager Youth Programs, Preston Reservoir Adult Community Education ... 6337418793