What is the Medford Family Network?
The Medford Family Network (MFN) of the Medford Public Schools is a FREE universal (everyone welcome) parenting education and family support program focusing on the positive impact on the developmental process of children prenatal to age 8 and supporting the families that care for them. It is funded by the Massachusetts Department of Early Education and Care Coordinated Family and Community Engagement Grant, the Children’s Trust Massachusetts Family Center Grant, and the Friends of the Medford Family Network, as well as donations and fundraisers sponsored by the FMFN.
All adults who live or work in Medford caring for young children are welcome!
The goal of the MFN is to create a strong web of support for all families of young children. This is accomplished by making meaningful connections in three ways: (1) connecting families to families; (2) fostering family contact with community resources; and (3) building collaborative relationships among community agencies.
The activities of the Medford Family Network are rooted in The Five Protective Factors (www.strengtheningfamilies.net). These five factors include: parental resilience, social connections, knowledge of parenting and child development, concrete support in times of need, and children’s social and emotional development.
The Family Center is located at:
Medford High School, 489 Winthrop Street
Medford, MA 02155
Programs are offered daytime, evening, and weekends throughout the city and are free of charge: child care and transportation options are available.
Parenting Education Workshops
The MFN’s Parenting Education Workshops are designed to challenge participants to try new strategies, build on personal strengths and values, and incorporate new learning into their parenting skills.
The MFN offers weekly Play and Learn groups that are held at the Family Center and other sites in the city. These playgroups require registration in advance and are designed for parents and caregivers of children from age 1 to five: Creepin Crawlers (age 8-16 months); Waddlin & Toddlin (age 17-21 months); Yahoo Crew (age 22-33 months); Kiddie Glee (age 34-45 months); Fun Galore (46-60 months). These playgroups are facilitated by a Play and Learn Group leader and foster parent/child interaction through play, social connections for parents, and provide information on child development and community resources.
Saturday drop-in playtime and S.T.E.A.M. (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, Math) workshops affords parents who work outside of the home on weekdays, as well as all parents, an opportunity to engage in relaxed play and learning time together.
From September through June, MFN offers Drop-In Playtime throughout the week and on Saturdays at the Family Center. The Family Center is equipped with activity areas such as blocks, books/puzzles, open art, housekeeping, dramatic play, puppets with a puppet stage, and math manipulatives; pla-doh; a gated infant space; bathroom with changing table; lending library, parenting and family support information display areas; and welcoming staff to answer questions and/or take registrations for other programs.
The front foyer of the Family Center holds a variety of items such as children’s and adult’s clothing, books, formula, and baby equipment. Families are welcome to bring and/or take items as needed. A major Swap Day offering gently-used items is held on a quarterly basis. Supermarket and other gift certificates are donated by families to distribute to families in need. There is an annual Thanksgiving Basket and Holiday Gift drive that MFN conducts with local schools, student organizations, houses of worshiop and a synagogue to distribute food and gifts to local families.
MFN hosts special events throughout the year that include: the International Family Festival, Curious George Literacy Breakfast, August Fun Night at Mystic Place, Self-guided Storybook Walks, and the Teddy Bear Picnic. MFN collaborates with local organizations and you will find us at citywide events such as Tufts Community Day, Hallmark Health Fair, Jingle Bell Festival, and Harvest Your Energy Festival.
Free Family Summer Concerts are held at Wright’s Pond each Tuesday evening and feature such children’s entertainers as Ben Rudnick and Friends Band, David Polansky, Binkey Bear Magic Show , Cheryl Melody ’s Imagination Concert, and Raspberry Rose.
MFN has many parent leadership opportunities: MFN Advisory Board (AB); AB Committees: Program, Outreach, Legislative Action, Marketing, and Parent Ambassador; volunteer Play and Learn group leaders; volunteer presenters /workshop leaders, volunteer parents who assist with newsletter distribution.