Gave me the confidence I needed to teach the material and the resources to validate what I teach.


Great Starts™ Professional Childbirth Educator Workshop and Training Program

Parent Trust for Washington Children’s Great Starts™ program (formerly known as Childbirth Education Association of Seattle, CEAS) is a recognized leader in childbirth education, with more than 60 years of experience. Our program serves over 3000 families each year in prepared childbirth and infant parenting classes. We author one of the most recognized books in the field, Pregnancy, Childbirth, and the Newborn, as well as The Simple Guide to Having a Baby (available also in Spanish), and the Great Starts™ Guide, a free downloadable consumer’s guide with articles and information that help parents select the best care for their family during pregnancy and for birth.

We offer workshops, Childbirth Educator Certification, continuing education opportunities, and consultation for hospitals and clinics. Our trainings support those interested in learning how to professionally and effectively facilitate group learning about Pregnancy, Childbirth, and the Newborn.  Participants learn the information and skills needed to begin facilitating classes to expectant or new parents using effective techniques, and delivering research-based information impartially.

Overview of our Workshop

The Great Starts™ Professional Childbirth Educator Workshop (PCEW) is led by Janelle Durham, MSW, co-author of our text, Pregnancy, Childbirth, and the Newborn (PCN) and other resources, Penny Simkin, PT, also one of the co-authors of PCN and many other books and articles, plus founder of DONA International, as well as Kim James, LCCE, and founder of

Our workshop is designed to lay the foundation for facilitating prenatal classes, for nurses, midwives, labor support or postpartum doulas, physical therapists, maternal-child health care professionals, as well as other professionals or those in training who have a solid working knowledge of the birth process. Participants learn how to effectively share that knowledge with expectant families.

Great Starts™ classes combines all the best techniques from a wide variety of childbirth education methods with current, research-based information on family-centered maternity care practices. We teach an “informed decision” perspective where our students are taught all the options, and how to ask questions of their care providers, and make the decisions that best balance benefits, risks, and their own values and priorities. The labor coping techniques we emphasize are the 3R’s: Relaxation, Rhythm, and Ritual, a method first described by Penny Simkin while observing how women naturally cope when they are given the support they need and feel safe. We also cover pain medications and medical interventions as tools in the toolbox to be used when needed.

The Purpose of the Workshop

We provide a comprehensive training program for aspiring educators.  Our training is focused on developing knowledge, skills, and confidence for facilitating prenatal, birth, and postpartum care classes for groups, yet the skill are applicable when working with expectant clients or patients one-on-one. We cover: prioritizing what content to include, developing learner objectives, curriculum design, using research-based information, delivering content in an impartial manner, and using interactive teaching techniques which help class participants learn, retain, and apply their new knowledge with confidence, and know where to seek additional support before it is needed.

Our workshop is also an important step to becoming a professionally certified childbirth educator, which is required by many employers. After our training, you have the option of pursuing certification with Great Starts™, International Childbirth Education Association (ICEA), or, after you have taught for a while, you can certify via the Experienced Educator pathway with Lamaze® and other organizations.

This workshop meets Great Starts™ Certification requirements for professional childbirth educator’s training, is approved for 24 hours of continuing education with the International Childbirth Education Association (ICEA), and approved by the California Board of Registered Nurses for 25 Continuing Education credits, Provider # CEP16764.

Spring 2017
Five Sundays: February 26 – March 26, 2017
(2/26, 3/5, 3/12, 3/19, 3/26)
12 p.m. – 6 p.m.
Parent Trust’s Center for Strong Families
2200 Rainier Ave S., Seattle, WA 98144.

Fall 2017 
Four consecutive days: Nov. 6-9th, 2017
9 a.m. – 5 p.m.
Parent Trust’s Center for Strong Families
2200 Rainier Ave S., Seattle, WA 98144.

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Continuing Education:

Parent Trust for WA Children is approved by the California Board of Registered Nursing, Provider Number CEP16764, for 25 contact hours for the Great Starts™ Professional Childbirth Education Workshop.

Our workshop is also approved by ICEA for 24 contact hours (max allowed).

In addition to our workshop, we offer opportunities for Great Starts™ continuing education in the Seattle area for experienced childbirth educators. If you would like to be informed of these opportunities, or would like to schedule a training in your region, contact Audrey Miles-Cherney, Great Starts Program Manager,

Hospital and Clinic Consulting:

Great Starts can provide personalized consulting services, ranging from customized childbirth educator trainings or staff inservices, and development of educational materials or curriculum design for a comprehensive range of classes. Contact Janelle Durham, Great Starts Trainer, for more information:

Additional Information

Class Content >>
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Prerequisites and Requirements >>
What Does This Class Prepare Me to Do? >>
Certification Information >>
Comparing the Great Starts workshop to other trainings >>
Great Starts Program Overview >>