Selected Podcast

SNHH Interactive Active Parenting Series for Ages Birth-24months

New parents aren't always primed for the adventure to follow birth.

Barbara Bullard-Koonz, Early Childhood Educator and Parent Instructor, discusses Southern New Hampshire Health's Active Parenting Series and how it can help new parents with common issues.
SNHH Interactive Active Parenting Series for Ages Birth-24months
Featured Speaker:
Barbara Bullard-Koonz
Barbara Bullard-Koonz is an Early Childhood Educator/Parent Instructor.

Bill Klaproth (Host): As a new or expecting parent, understanding parenting and developmental milestones that occur in babies during the first year of life; is very important and Southern New Hampshire Health has a program for you. Here to talk with us about the Active Parenting Series for ages birth to 24 months is Barbara Bullard-Koonz and early childhood educator and parent instructor at Southern New Hampshire Health. Barbara, thank you for your time. So, as an early childhood educator, and active parenting instructor; tell us about your role and what you do at the hospital.

Barbara Bullard-Koonz (Guest): So, as an early childhood educator and parent educator; I develop a sibling class to prepare children for the birth of a new baby and I’ve been with the hospital 30 years and I recently retired from Hollis Brookline School District as a preschool special needs teacher and had some time to develop a parenting series for Southern New Hampshire to help prepare parents for parenting after you have a baby. Lots of parents don’t have the experience of what should I do, what do I do next and what are the milestones. So, as an Active Parenting instructor, I’m implementing the new program that Dr. Popkin, the creator of Active Parenting just developed. It’s from birth to five years of age. So, I took that program and I looked at it and looks at the needs of our population in the community and I developed three classes for parents. The first class is called Newborn and Me and it’s for parents to come to a class for four weeks and each week I have a guest speaker to talk about development. The first week I have a nurse practitioner come and talk about post-partum depression. The second week I have a lactation consultant come and talk about breastfeeding or feeding. And the third week I have a physical therapist to come and talk to new moms about what they can do to get their body back in shape after childbirth. And then the fourth week I have a nurse come and talk about baby care.

Host: So, Barbara it’s a four week class? Is that right?

Barbara: Yes. That’s correct. Yes, it’s four weeks.

Host: So, Barbara, is there a cost to these classes?

Barbara: Yes. The cost of the classes is $40. It’s $10 per class and when you sign up, you using up for all four classes.

Host: And where are the classes offered?

Barbara: So, the classes are offered at the Nashua YMCA. We selected that site because it has easy access to a nice big airy bright classroom and there are changing tables available for the babies and easy parking and we have a relationship with the Y, the hospital has a relationship with the Y. so, it’s a great facility to use for the class. And it’s offered on Wednesdays, Wednesday mornings.

Host: Wednesday mornings. So, Wednesday mornings, that is the day and what time are the classes? I know you said morning, but what times on Wednesday?

Barbara: So, the newborn class is offered from 9-10:30, the baby class, the second series is offered from 9-10:30 on alternating months, but you can find all of this information on our web and the Toddler and Me class is offered 10:30-12:30. All of the information about the classes can be found on our website.

Host: And what are the weekly topics? I know you mentioned a few things earlier, but could you just go once again week by week what are the topics that you cover?

Barbara: Sure. I’d be happy to. The Newborn series four weeks. The first topic is post-partum depression. The second week is lactation/feeding. Third week is physical activity, how do you get your body back in shape after having a baby. And the fourth week is baby care. So, that’s the Newborn class. And then I have the next class that you can attend when you finish the newborn class.

Host: So, Barbara, will the participants receive handouts from the speakers?

Barbara: Yes. Actually, all of our participants, all of my presenters have speakers and handouts for the participants and it’s a great opportunity for the parents to have undivided attention with professionals for 45 minutes to ask them any question that they would like. It’s just a great support for the new parents.

Host: It sure sounds like it. So, I know this sounds like a silly question, but do the participants bring their newborn baby to the classes?

Barbara: The newborn class you bring your baby. The baby class, you bring your baby. And for the toddler class, you bring your baby because we have activities planned for the babies. Each class, there are different activities that we have. We have music and manipulatives available for the children. I have different developmentally appropriate toys so the parents know what children should have at each age. So, it’s like a show and tell as well.

Host: So, you get to play and learn with your baby at the same time.

Barbara: Yes, that’s right it’s an interactive class.

Host: It sounds really fun. So, who would benefit from attending the new parenting classes? Who is this really designed for?

Barbara: Well, I really felt that there was really – once a couple has a baby, I felt like presently there isn’t any support for new parents. So, that’s really what the driving force for me to develop this program. So, primarily, it’s important for new parents to come. However, if new parents are working and their childcare providers are their parents or their aunts or uncles or their nannies would like to come with the children; they are welcome as well. So, we are not just focusing just on the family, the parents but anyone in their family who is helping taking care of the child that would benefit from this knowledge is more than welcome to come.

Host: I could see where that’s very, very useful and what is the feedback you’ve received from parents who have participated in one of the classes?

Barbara: Well the parents, I just finished a Toddler and Me session and the parents were thrilled. At first, just the moms came and then the following week, the dads came, and it was really great because they were really excited to come to see and to hear the professionals because there’s no program like this. Families have an opportunity to have undivided attention with a professional and they really, really appreciated that. And they were thrilled.

So, the Toddler and Me class, I have a speech pathologist who comes to talk about language development and how to foster that. I have an occupational therapist to come and talk about the importance of fine motor and gross motor and core. How does a baby develop their core. And sensory and she brought all these sensory activities for the children to play with and they loved it. So, they really, really, really thought it was very helpful and then I do the parent educating. I use the Active Parenting booklet and we talk about it and review it and it’s just great. And they were just so pleased. There was so much that they learned that they didn’t know. As we all know, babies and children do not come with instructions. So, it’s helpful to have support from professionals as we go through our journey of raising our children.

Host: I was just going to say, you are not given a manual when you have a baby. So, thankfully, Barbara, you have designed these series of classes for new parents which again, sounds very beneficial and useful and gives parents a real opportunity again to play and learn with their babies. And really become more informed about that really critical period of their lives. So, Barbara, thank you so much for your time. We really appreciate it. For more information as Barbara said, you can visit, that’s the Southern New Hampshire Health website, This is Simply Healthy, a podcast by Southern New Hampshire Health. I’m Bill Klaproth. Thanks for listening.