eltern.chat – Professional Discussions By Parents For Parents

2nd Prize 2012

Country: Austria

Region: Vorarlberg

Sector: Civil Society / Social Economy

Fields of action: Community development, Migration, Adult education

Project owner: Katholisches Bildungswerk Vorarlberg

Responsible person: Mag.a Wilma Loitz

Website: Weblink

What is it about?
Roughly 100 times a year, various parents and legal guardians gather together in twelve different communities in Vorarlberg for an ‘eltern.chat’ (a parents’ chat). The discussions are held either in the home of a hostess or somewhere publicly, possibly in a school, where the parents can speak in Turkish, the Vorarlberg dialect, or Russian. They discuss all things related to an educational topic introduced and moderated by a specially trained facilitator. Current topics include how to make children strong, managing television, the sibling relationship, bedtime, learning to speak, nutrition, sources of energy, and puberty. Together with regional advisers, around 20 facilitators come up with the topics at regular information exchange meetings.
Appreciation of the Jury
‘Eltern.chat’ was invented because standard, lecture-based educational sessions held at locations removed from the family did not function. It is nimble but clearly structured and hires moderators who guide and keep discussions on topic within a private social network. It also works well for women with non-Austrian roots. The novel setup makes the most of their openness towards education. The system is self-managing with a central framework, and easily expandable. It contributes to the practice of communal learning – one-eighth of communities in Vorarlberg are already participating. We hope it will spread even further.