As a mom, I’m always looking for opportunities to help my daughter grow and learn. When I was still pregnant with Madeline, I read article upon article about the various ways to help nurture development and a love of learning in our soon-to-be daughter. All of my reading led me to discover the local Parents as Teachers (PAT) program offered through the school district. I had numerous friends who were teachers and they all raved about PAT.
About a month after Madeline was born, I filled out the PAT application to start the process of connecting with a parent educator. Since Madeline was born in April, and we were signing up at the end of the school, we had to wait until the end of summer to have our first meeting.
Our first home visit was when Madeline was just four and a half months old. After hearing so many good things about the PAT program from many other mom friends, I was excited to get an early start with our daughter.
Our parent educator came to our house armed with handouts, books, and toys for Madeline. We discussed her development and ideas of how to help her reach those next milestones. We read a book, and I watched as she taught Madeline how to play with a new educational toy.
Over the last three years, our visits have followed a similar pattern. Our parent educator, Miss Charity always brings a new learning activity for Madeline and several helpful handouts for me and her dad that have covered everything from picky eating and potty training tricks to how to deal with tantrums and power struggles with our feisty threenager.
Miss Charity always asks if there are any concerns or issues we are currently struggling with. It can be anything from Madeline’s refusal to eat vegetables to the fact that we’ve noticed she sometimes struggles with the letter “r” in her speech. Miss. Charity gives us amazing advice on how to handle it all and ways we can help Madeline so that she will be kindergarten ready when that day comes.
Another fun perk of PAT is the playgroups. Once a month, we make our way over to our school district’s preschool building for a playgroup. We have played with slime, decorated Christmas cookies and had popcorn with Grandma. Each month has its own theme and is always full of lots of playtime with old and new friends.
Our district also provides a monthly playgroup at our Success by Six facility. We love going to Success by Six because we are able to find new games, puzzles, toys, and books each visit that we are able to check out and bring home to play with. As a working mom, I am so grateful that PAT provides evening playgroups and activities that we are actually able to attend. Something that all working moms will agree is a rarity. For those stay-at-home and work-from-home moms, there are also weekly playgroups that are available during the day.
Now Madeline is almost four and we have had a visit from a parent educator 3-4 times each school year. Madeline has had developmental screenings each year just to check in that she is growing and developing on pace. PAT has given me an excuse to go mingle with other parents in a safe and secure environment where our children can play and learn. It has given peace of mind that we are doing all we can to give Madeline a head start in school.
PAT has provided Madeline a firm foundation for her educational journey and has given me an early connection with our school district and other families that will be going to school alongside Madeline. We are so grateful that our community has such an amazing resource for parents and our children. We love PAT.