Thesis Title

Art Enhanced Parenting Education for Parents of Behavior Problem Children

Graduation Date

Fall 1995

Document Type

Master's Thesis

Document Form


Degree Name

Master of Arts in Marriage and Family Therapy

Degree Granting Institution

Notre Dame de Namur University

Program Name

Art Therapy


Zonta Services is a private, nonprofit special education school and mental health agency that has been serving at-risk children in Santa Clara County and surrounding areas for over 30 years. Zonta serves children with the most severe social, emotional and behavioral problems to help them develop the functional, vocational and social skills necessary for active participation in community life. This is accomplished through innovative programs that meet the needs of at-risk children and their families. Zonta serves 36 children on its campus, and impacts 400 others through its REACH outreach programs. In 1994 Zonta earned nine commendations from the California State Department of Education and was honored with the Nonprofit-of- the-Year Award from the Timpany Center for its Community Work Experience Program.

High quality early intervention with emotionally disturbed and/or behaviorally disordered children is essential to increase their chances of recovery and success in family, school and community settings. Through its parent education programs, REACH teaches skills promoting effective family relationships in addition to dealing with preventing violence, neglect or child abuse. Parenting courses are short term, and their long term benefits to at-risk children and families are difficult to assess.

Many of the families served by Zonta Services are low-income, members of minority groups, and lacking in parent ing skills and social supports needed to deal with difficult children on a daily basis.

Zonta Services proposes a grant to fund an art-enhanced parenting education course. This course will be presented twice over the period of one year to parents of children attending community schools and daycare centers served by REACH. Art tasks will enhance comprehension, encourage empathic understanding of these children, and aid group interaction and the building of rapport among participants. Following course completion, parents will be encouraged to continue meeting as a parent support group which would maintain learned skills while providing social supports.

Program success will be determined through pre and post course assessments of parent stress and child behavior, as well as through course evaluations. It is anticipated that 80% of parents would experience less stress and improved child behavior, 70% would see value in the art enhancements, and 60% would express interest in joining a support group following the course.

The total cost to provide this art enhanced parenting course would be $2,500.00, of which Zonta Services will provide in-kind services of the facility, partial salaries and supplies in the amount of $750.00. This grant request is for $1,750.00 to cover the remaining cost of salaries, supplies and art materials.