Team

The Parenting Matters team has 10 facilitators who are certified parent educators (certified under guidance of Ruth Beaglehole, M.A., Founder of Echo Parenting and Education, Los Angeles) including two experienced counsellors, a psychology major and a professional social worker. All facilitators have worked in conducting workshops and running long-term programs with parent groups in schools,neighbourhoods and in business organisations.

 

Team photo website

L to R (top) : Mala, Prasanna, Snigdha, Sunitha, Samanta, Seema and Sujata

L to R ( bottom) : Prerna, Mrinalini, Kesang, Manasi and Shalini

Facilitators

  • Sunitha R.

    Sunitha is an B.Com graduate. She believes in a positive approach to parenting. When she heard about a program for parents of teenagers, she enrolled immediately as she wanted to have a deeper bond with her children during the difficult teen years.

    After she experienced the benefits of this method, she was inspired to support other parents and hence joined the team. She has been facilitating groups since 2009, both for parents of teenagers and for parents of the 0-6 age group as she believes the foundation for the parent child relationship begins at birth.

    She is at present the coordinator of the team as she has a love for organising and planning. She is a Reiki Grand Master who does healing and also teaches Reiki.

    Facilitating and meeting of parents in these workshops gives her fulfillment as she travels along with them in their journey of discovery.

  • Sujata Vasant Dewaji

    Sujata is a certified Parent Educator from Echo Parenting and Education, Los Angeles.

    In 2005, she chanced upon an opportunity to attend a parenting program which made her rethink her 'definition' of a parent. This was the turning point in her life that became her life's calling.

    At Parenting Matters she worked with one of the first long-term parenting groups over 3 years. During this time, her hands-on 'Learning by Doing' approach has reinforced her understanding of the issues parents face today. This helped her to create the curriculum for the organization. She is continually working on content development, mentoring new entrants and on new formats for various programs with the team.

    As a trained facilitator, she is actively engaged in conducting workshops with neighbourhood groups, schools and corporates.

    Her articles have been published in the magazine 'Parent Circle' and in the newspaper 'Dina Thanthi Next'. She has also spoken on FM Radio as a part of creating awareness on positive parenting.

    She believes that a nurturing environment for the child enriches the family and the society at large. She envisages a world where children are free from any form of violence.

    Her husband and her two children are an integral part of a continually evolving foursome.


  • Snigdha Chavan

    Snigdha Chavan is a Chartered Accountant by qualification with 6 years of experience in the field ,and also with one of the Big 4 accounting firms. She joined the Parenting Matters team in 2013.

    She attended the course as a participant, felt completely at home with the philosophy and methodology and knew that this was work that she wanted to be deeply involved with. With her husband’s work requiring extensive travel and no family close by to support her, she knew she wanted to help spread the word for parents with similar challenges.

    An avid motorcyclist, she has been on numerous motorcycling trips, her favourite ones being the ones to Ladakh, which she has completed thrice!

    She enjoys facilitating small and large groups  and loves the work as she can see how we can meaningfully impact the lives of so many children by touching their parents’ lives. 
  • Dr.Shalini Modi


    Dr Shalini Modi has a PhD in Sociology, M.Sc. from The Netherlands and a Law degree from Campus Law Centre, Delhi University. After teaching in leading colleges in Delhi and Chennai, she later joined the corporate world committed to improving the quality & delivery of school education. She left her job, when she saw how joyfully children learnt in the Montessori system.

    A trained Montessorian, she realized that working with children is only doing part of the job. Parents & teachers are the biggest influence on children & have a huge bearing on what & how they turn out to be. She also realised that even as adults do their best, they can do with some help, specially in dealing with their own stresses & challenges. Shalini believes that Parenting has a universality which when understood can lead to a paradigm shift in the roles we play.

    A mother of two, Shalini is convinced that Parenting Principles can help every individual appreciate themselves, as also their relationships. She has been working with children, teachers and parents and it remains her passion.
  • Seemanthini Iyer


    Seemanthini Iyer has a Masters in International Political Economy from the London School of Economics and was in the Banking sector before choosing to be a stay at home mum after the birth of her first child. Her second child followed soon after and this was followed by a move back to India where providentially she got to know about Parenting Matters and the work they do. Following their work with great interest, she joined the team in 2015 when her younger one started preschool.


    After seeing the impact of the work and how valuable and practical the knowledge shared was, as a participant, she knew that this was a field and an organisation she would love to be a part of and found her passion for it very naturally.

    She finds the vision of empowering parents, very inspiring and believes that supporting parents through this crucial role is important both for parents and the children and derives immense satisfaction from this work as she believes that this is her teensy contribution towards making the world a better place for the coming generations.

    Coming towards the successful completion of her intensive training she has begun facilitation and is looking forward very eagerly to her certification!
  • Renuka Kumar

    Renuka Kumar did MBA and worked with a multinational company for 2 years before getting married and moving to Chennai from Delhi.

    After having her children she realised that how challenging parenting could be and was seeking better ways of doing this important task. She then came to know about the weekly sessions held by Parenting Matters and joined the program.This helped her understand the behaviour of children and empowered her to parent with awareness.

    Implementing the learnings from the sessions brought her amazing results especially in her relationship with her children. After being a participant in the program for a year she joined the team in ………She has facilitated in schools, some independent groups and conducted one time workshops.

    The success stories of parents attending the sessions motivate and inspire her to spread the message of positive parenting to as many people as possible.

  • Prerna Kalra

    It was in 2006 when a friend invited Prerna to join 'Parenting Matters' as a participant. She was amazed at the concepts discussed and how implementing them, changed her, making her an aware and connected parent. Having experienced the benefits of the programme she was enthused to spread the word of parenting with awareness.

    Prerna is a certified Parent Educator from Echo Parenting and Education Los Angeles.  She is involved in designing programs, developing curriculum, mentoring and exploring new initiatives. She is also an artist who uses her creative abilities in designing material to spread messages on parenting through a range of media such as booklets, handouts, posters,newsletters and videos. 

    She believes that it is important to question the mindsets around how adults interact with children in our society. Towards this goal, she has been facilitating parenting groups and workshops since 2006 in a number of settings -schools, neighbourhoods and business organisations. She has also written articles on parenting which have been published in newspapers such as Dina Thanthi Next and on online blogs. She has created awareness on important parenting issues through programs on FM radio and has given a  TEDx talk  on the topic of how parenting plays a crucial role in the future of the world. 

    Her mission is make parent education accessible to every parent as she believes that parents need support in the challenging task of raising the next generation. When families feel empowered, we can definitely hope for a more compassionate and peaceful society.

  • Kesang Menezes

    Kesang did a Masters in Social Work at Tata Institute of Social Sciences and worked in the field of education and rural development before having children. As a mother she discovered how challenging it is to raise a child and how little training and preparation for this task is available in our society. This motivated her to mobilize other parents and set up Parenting Matters, initially a volunteer-run organization based on Montessori philosophy. The aim was to create forums for parents to learn, share their experiences and grow together.

    She has been facilitating parenting groups and workshops since 2004. She believes that small interactive groups are a very powerful tool for learning. She also writes articles for Parent Circle magazine, the Hindu and other publications and has short online videos on Parenting.

    Her goal is to create awareness so that the task of parenting gets the importance it deserves in society, and as many people as possible raise their children with sensitivity and understanding.

  • Prasanna Vasanadu

    Prasanna is a graduate in Computer Science and Engineering and has done her post-graduation in Marketing.

    When her son was born, she became very interested in learning about different philosophies and methodologies in parenting. The philosophy of Parenting with Connection spoke to her the most and she wanted to delve deep into it. When her son was 15 months old, she did a 10 week parent intensive course with a well known international organisation which got her started in this way of parenting. 

    She came across Parenting Matters in Chennai when she was looking for more in-person support in her parenting journey. She joined them as a participant when her son was less than 2 years old. When she started applying these principles in her own life, she started seeing the benefits of it, not just with her son but with all her relationships. From then on, she knew that she wanted to become a parent educator to spread the word of parenting with connection and  to help other parents deepen their bond with their families. She got her certification from Parenting Matters, Chennai, certified under the guidance of Echo Parenting and Education, Los Angeles in 2016. She has been part of the team ever since. 


  • Mrinalini Ponappa Banerjea

    Mrinalini has a 5-year college education in Social and Child Psychology.

    She joined as a participant with the Parenting Matters group at Harrington Road in 2007 for two years after which she joined the facilitator team. She has been facilitating sessions and workshops for parents since 2009 in schools, corporate and resource centers.
    She believes that having conscious path to parenting helped her both as a person and a parent .

    Over the past decade Mrinalini has loved facilitating sessions, researching content, writing and editing articles. Reaching out to parents and exploring ideas and learning from each group has inspired her continue working actively with parents .

    Mrinalini is a certified Parent Educator from Echo Parenting and Education Los Angeles.

  • Manasi Dandeker

    Manasi has a diploma in Counseling Psyschology from Fergusson College, Pune prior to which she trained as a lawyer and Company Secretary. She has worked as a counselor in a boarding school and a day school, and facilitated group therapy for the men and women wards in Muktangan Mitra, De-addiction and Rehabilitation Centre in Pune.

    Currently, Manasi is based in Toronto where she conducts talks and programs in day cares and independent spaces spreading awareness about Parenting with Connection. She has a vision of the world where children are raised with the knowledge and understanding of their developmental needs, thus building a society of confident, compassionate, responsible adults. Where each such adult would go out and be a change agent in society. 

    She was introduced to Parenting Matters when she moved to Chennai in 2011. Their unshakeable faith in the value of being an ally to the child from early on, appealed to her. She identifies with the structure of working with groups of parents who, with each others' support, draw strength to meet the issues before them. She has facilitated groups for parents in schools and corporates in Chennai and has also written articles on Parenting which have been published in an English daily, Dina Thanthi Next.

  • Mala Saharia

    Mala Saharia is a graduate in fine arts from University of Bombay. She was a counsellor with Sanjivini Society for Mental Health Delhi, for over 8 years, during which she received extensive training from experts in the field and gained rich practical experience.

    She moved to Chennai in 2007 and discovered Parenting Matters. Convinced and impressed with the potential of the program, she found a direct connect between her experience as a counsellor and their objectives. The skills that she learnt at Parenting Matters helped her form a stronger bond with her sons and have also enhanced other relationships in her life.

    She took on the task of developing and conducting weekly workshops for parents of adolescent children. Facilitating groups, supporting parents through the crucial, sensitive years by sharing what she has learnt gives her a lot of satisfaction. She is keen to reach out to parents and believes that parenting adolescents can be a truly fulfilling and enriching experience.

  • Kalpana Sundar

    Kalpana Sundar qualified in the U.S as a Certified Public Accountant. As a parent of two children whom she brought up initially in the US and then in India, she was exposed to differences in child rearing practices in both cultures which made her want to look at parenting issues in greater depth.

    She is a founding member of Parenting Matters and from 2004 has been facilitating groups of parents of all age groups ( 0-6 years, 6-12 years and teenagers). Her passion is to work closely with smaller groups over a period of time so that she can share in their changes and discoveries. She has also worked with parents one on one to help them build skills and deepen their understanding of their children.

    She believes that working on oneself as a person is an important part of becoming aware of oneself as a parent. She would like Parenting Matters to be able to touch the lives of people from all backgrounds and strata of society as parenting is an experience we all share though the challenges may vary.

Selection and Training of Facilitators

To become a facilitator with Parenting Matters, a prerequisite is to first attend our program as a participant parent for over a year, completing different levels of the program and using these skills in one’s life.

We believe that every facilitator must have the conviction of having used this approach and experienced its benefits. We then select one or two as trainees each year who show passion and interest in spreading these ideas to others and show potential in facilitating groups.

The next step is to undergo an intensive two-year training process within the organization observing groups and working under a mentor.

Ongoing Traning and Development

The initial training for the team was provided by the Centre for Montessori Training- Chennai. The team undergoes ongoing training in facilitation skills and personal growth by a senior professional member of ISABS (Indian Society for Applied Behavioural Sciences) who is also an Organization Development consultant with Oracle.

Additionally, all facilitators have attended workshops on using NVC (non violent communication) skills for harmonious communication in families at Joy Living and Learning Centre, Auroville. All facilitators take on tasks of preparing and updating content, reviewing methodology and working on new ways to facilitate learning.

Additionally, team members invest time in participating in new programs which help them work on and be more aware of their own parenting style.

The year 2013 was significant for Parenting Matters as the facilitators were certified as parent educators. The team had the privilege to be trained under Ruth Beaglehole, M.A., Founder of Echo Parenting and Education, Los Angeles.

Ruth Beaglehole is a Consultant, Trainer, Parent Educator and a Public Speaker. Ruth is an international trainer, taking the work of Nonviolence in Raising Children to communities in New Zealand, Japan, India and The Democratic Republic of the Congo. She was recognised as the National Association of Social Workers', California Chapter 2018, Public Citizen of the Year Award.