Recently, our family has been reconnected with the Parents as Teachers program.Â We first participated in the program 5 years ago in a different school district, with Dominick.
Parents as Teachers (PAT) is an early childhood parent and family support program serving families throughout pregnancy until their child enters kindergarten, usually age 5.Â Here are the goals of the program from the PAT website:
* Increase parent knowledge of early childhood development and improve parenting practices
* Provide early detection of developmental delays and health issues
* Prevent child abuse and neglect
* Increase children’s school readiness and school success
This FREE early childhood program is for ALL children, not just children who have a delay in their development. Parents are supported by PAT-certified parent educators who provide home visits every 6-8 weeks. At each visit, in addition to offering developmental screenings, a parent educator will bring activities to do with your child to help enhance his/her language development, intellectual growth, social development and motor skills.
Most of the activities and the information your parent educator would be giving you, would be very similar to what you get from your child’s Family Service Coordinator, TVI, OT, Speech Therapist, etc.Â If your child already receive services from these types service providers, the LAST thing you want is ANOTHER provider to try and schedule home visits with.Â Â So, what can Parents as Teachers give you and your family that you don’t already have?
Peer to peer interaction.
Many PAT programs offer weekly play groups for the children enrolled in the program.Â This is the MAIN reason I signed up.Â These play groups will give Lyra the opportunity to interact with children her age in our local school district.Â She will get to meet and play with children who will eventually become her classmates in school.Â The other children will be able to get to know Lyra and learn about albinism BEFORE she enters school.Â Â Lyra’s parent educator told us that they plan to offer the weekly play groups beginning in October.Â I can’t wait!
There are more than 3000 Parents as Teachers program sites across the country and around the world.Â To find one in your area, visit the link below, and then click on, “Find a Program by State.”