Ok, so I am going to get on my soap box for just a minute here to highly recommend a program that I have participated in for the last 3 years…
I LOVE Parents As Teachers. What is Parents As Teachers you ask? Parents As Teachers is a program offered by the school district we live in (Jenks) that offers parents a wealth of information, personal home visits from a parent educator, group play days, referrals if needed, screenings, and many more amazing resources. The program is a national program and is offered in many placed depending on the school district. I first heard about it when I worked for Jenks Public Schools. My Pediatrician also highly recommends it to his patients.
The whole premise behind Parents as Teachers (PAT) is that the first 3 years of a child’s life are so crucial and lay the groundwork for the rest of their lives. This program encourages parents to become their child’s first teacher.
Here is a quote taken from the PAT website:
“Parents are supported by PAT-certified parent educators trained to translate scientific information on early brain development into specific when, what, how and why advice for families. By understanding what to expect during each stage of development, parents can easily capture the teachable moments in everyday life to enhance their child’s language development, intellectual growth, social development and motor skills.”
I was on a waiting list to receive home visits for Emma when she was born and when she was around 9 months old, we began receiving home visits by our Parent Educator, Therese Hubble. She is AMAZING! What a blessing she has been. It’s so neat to think about the fact that she has seen my children every month (excluding June and July) since Emma was 9 months old. Unfortunately, we can only receive home visits for a total of 3 years so we just had our last home visit with Therese last week. She saw Emma from 9 months-3 years, then Foster from birth-to 6 months.
So…why do I like the program so much?
- This parenting thing is TOUGH! These kiddos don’t come with an instruction manual. While every child is very different, the information PAT gave me was a great guide book. It let me know what to expect, what was coming next, what was normal and not normal.
- My monthly visits were a great chance for me to bounce parenting ideas off of an expert.
- Miss Therese was a constant source of encouragement for me as a mom.
- As a stay-at-home mom, sometimes it’s just nice to see another adult during the day!
- Miss Therese taught me so many neat ways to play with my kids. Sometimes I get so busy with household chores, and making sure their basic necessities are met, that I forget to PLAY. PLAY is SO crucial during the early years and she taught me how to do that.
- The 3-4 screenings/year were a great tool to show me how my kids were doing on every level. They showed me areas that we needed to work on as well as areas where they were thriving.
- The visits were FUN. Every month she brought a bag of toys, books, puzzles, etc. for Emma to play with. Emma was always so excited to see what was in the bag!
There is sometimes a misconception that this program is only for “those families” who aren’t educated themselves, who need help, and need referrals. This couldn’t be further from what this program is about. This program is for everyone- they meet you where you are. When I was talking to my Pediatrician about PAT I said, “Ya know, I’m a baby nurse and a Pediatric nurse, but every time my Parent Educator comes, I learn something about their development.” He agreed- even his 3 kids have received visits!
Why do I share all of this information?
1. If PAT is offered in your area and you have little ones, I suggest that you enroll now!
2. Funding for PAT is looking very dismal and the future of the program is in danger. If you are inspired, I ask that you write your legislator or talk the program up to other people in order to increase awareness.
Ok, thank you for listening. I will know get off my soap box.