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Centering Parenting®

A Family-Centered Way to Get Care For Moms, Babies, and Families

Empowering Parents to Make Healthier Choices for Themselves and Their Families

  • Enhance parent/child and patient/provider relationships
  • Engage with other parents in a positive & supportive environment
  • Participate in fun activities and discussions about child health
  • Share best parenting practices

What Happens in a CenteringParenting® Group?

Under the guidance of the provider and support staff you will be in a group setting with other parents and their children of similar age. The intent is to provide you with the resources, tools, and education to support positive family development. Your group will include one pediatrician, one nurse, and one support staff member. You will come away from this experience with stronger bonds with the other families as well as a greater sense of community.

How Often Will My Group Meet?

Group sessions will last one and a half hours with your provider present the entire time. Groups meet regularly over the first two years of your child’s life.

All routine well-child visits until the child is two years old: 1 month, 2 months, 4 months, 6 months, 9 months, 12 months 15 months, 18 months and 24 months.

CenteringParenting® in Our Community

Early program development and startup funds in support of a Rutland Area CenteringParenting© Program were made possible thanks to the generosity of Dr. Tom and Debra Wolk in honor of Tom’s parents, well known Pediatrician Dr. Arthur Wolk and his wife Florrie. In addition, the program has received support from a Promise Community Grant to improve the health and wellness of families with children birth to age five.

“It makes us feel like we are not alone. A lot of times we think, I am the only one going through this, but then you get to group and you’re like, Oh, I am not the only one.”

— CenteringParent

Tell me about Centering

Imagine that your healthcare visits were in a comfortable setting and that you had time to ask all of your questions, learn more about your own health, and share with others who were experiencing similar things at the same time.

Centering Parenting® provides family-centered well-child care for the first two years, continuing on from Centering Pregnancy or starting when 6-8 parents and infants of the same age are brought together for care. In each 90 minute visit you’ll have a one-on-one assessment with the provider and then time for group discussion. You are actively involved in your child’s assessment at every visit: tracking growth, development, immunizations and oral health. Individual well-child health assessments, immunizations, and developmental screenings follow the Bright Futures™ nationally recognized guidelines. An emphasis on family, self-care, wellness and women’s health is woven throughout each visit.

Centering is your healthcare visit, but different.

Extended time with your healthcare team:  Centering Parenting groups meet for 90 minutes, following the American Academy of Pediatrics Bright Futures™ nationally recognized guidelines for well-child health assessments, immunizations, and developmental screenings and typically meets for 9 visits over the first 2 years. There is private 1:1 time with your child’s provider at each visit, plus an emphasis on your self-care, wellness, and health.

No waiting: Centering is designed to be respectful of your time. There is no wasted time standing in line to check in or waiting for your appointment to start – when you arrive you will go right to the Centering room to get started. Groups start and end on time.

Self-care:  It is an Essential Element of Centering that participants are involved in their own care. You’ll weigh and measure your baby and track your child’s growth, development, feeding, sleep, immunizations, and oral health in the companion Centering Parenting notebook. We have seen that participants have a better understanding, appreciation, and recall of their health information when they actively participate in this way.

Interactive learning:  It’s not a class. Your healthcare team won’t lecture. Instead, you’ll explore the topics that matter most in a way that is fun and engaging. Everyone benefits from real discussions with your trusted healthcare team and group, instead of relying on advice found on the web. Participants are empowered to share and learn from others in group.

Community Building: We are learning more and more about the benefits of social support and community in protecting pregnant women and babies from unnecessary stress. A special community develops in Centering groups. Participants tell us the group feels like a circle of friends sharing common concerns and the experiences of pregnancy, birth, and parenting. You may find that the relationships developed in your group extend long past the scheduled visits as you create lasting friendships and support systems.


At the first group session, each person signs a confidentiality agreement and it is emphasized that particular concerns should not be discussed outside the group setting. Ground rules are agreed upon and posted in the group space. The decision to share information with the group is made by each participant; no one ever is pressured to disclose personal concerns.

Individual time with your provider will be conducted in a private area of the Centering room. Should you require an exam or have issues that require additional privacy, you will be seen in an exam room outside the Centering appointment.

Your charges and/or copays for Centering Parenting care are the same as traditional care and are determined by your insurance coverage. If you have questions about your coverage and estimated out-of-pocket expenses, talk with the healthcare practice administrator.

Centering group care is your healthcare visit. And while 90 minutes may seem like a long time for your well-child visit, remember there is no waiting for your appointment to start – when you arrive you will go right to the Centering room to get started. There is no need to check out after either, or to spend valuable time scheduling your next visit. You will receive a schedule of all your appointments when you enroll in Centering so that you can make arrangements for time off in advance.

There are multiple reasons why this is strongly discouraged. First, most children will be bored in a 90 minute group. Bored children are typically a distraction for their moms and other group participants. Also, children do not sign confidentially agreements and the group’s privacy is something we take very seriously.

You will know the schedule of visits in advance and have confidence that each group visit will start and end on time. We hope this will make it easier for you to make child care arrangements in advance.

Most patients and providers find they get to know one another better through Centering groups. This is because you spend so much more time together! In Centering, you get both private time to ask questions and talk with your provider, as well as group time that is fun and informative.

We encourage you to bring your partner or support person – they will benefit from being a part of the group too! We ask that you bring the same person to each session for continuity and confidentiality. Support people sit in the circle and fully participate in the all of activities and discussions.

If you or your child are not feeling well and are potentially contagious, we ask that don’t come to your group visit. Just call the practice and schedule an individual appointment. Your group will appreciate it and look forward to seeing you next time!

That’s a common concern. Rest assured that there is no pressure to share anything with the group that you are not comfortable sharing. However, most participants find that the group quickly feels like a group of friends who are all going through similar things, and the benefits they receive from sharing their experiences are tremendous.

At the start of a Centering Parenting session, you will weigh and measure your baby and then meet with your provider for the individual well-child assessment, screenings, and questions. There will be snacks and a time to chat with other group participants. Immunizations may be given at this time, during a break, or at the end of the group visit. At every visit mothers participate in their own self-assessment; tracking your weight and blood pressure (optional), completing postpartum screening tools, and recording your progress in meeting your own self-care goals in your Centering notebook. After the well-child checks are complete, the group “circles up” to explore a broad range of health, safety and parenting topics. Groups are lively, interactive, focused on the topics that are most important to you and FUN!

Immunizations, health assessments and developmental screenings follow the American Academy of Pediatrics Bright Futures™ nationally recognized guidelines. Your healthcare team may invite you to come in a few minutes early or may plan to administer the immunizations during a break or at the end of your Centering group visit.

More than 60,000 patients were served in Centering groups across the country in 2016. Centering has been around for many years, but is new in 2018 to CHCRR Pediatrics.

Numerous studies that have shown that women who participate in Centering are more satisfied with their care, feel more prepared for birth and for parenting and have higher rates of breastfeeding when they leave the hospital. Other studies have shown a decrease in the risk of preterm birth and higher birth weights for babies who are born premature.

We believe anyone can enjoy and benefit from Centering. Talk with your provider if you have any further questions about whether Centering is right for you.

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