Get to know your local Parents as Teachers program!
Let’s set the stage: You are a parent of young children. You have had A. DAY. with said young children. One is still not sleeping through the night, and one has a major case of the whines. You have read the books (well, parts of them, at least – who has time to read?!). You have Googled, followed, and swiped all things parenting. That village you hear about–where do you go about finding one of those? Well, today is your lucky day because you have found it! Not only that, but what if I told you it was no cost, tailored to your own family and situation, and is all delivered to your doorstep?
Welcome to the Parents as Teachers (PAT) program! This program is an international family support program that started right here in Missouri. In our state, PAT programs are mandated and administered through school districts-we are the only state to do so. Your family is eligible to participate if you have children prenatal through 5 years of age. As long as your child meets the age requirement, all families are eligible and welcome! Each program consists of individualized home visits, screenings, group connection opportunities, and links families to resources in the community.
Your home visitor is a trained and certified Parent Educator. Our curriculum is rooted in Family Systems Theory. This means that although we are experts on all things children and will help to monitor your child’s milestones, we visit your whole family. We realize each family member has an important part they play and is a piece of the relationship dynamic. You can expect your Parent Educator to share developmental information, parenting tips and strategies, help problem-solve, and, of course, have fun! On a recent home visit a parent shared,
“Participating in these visits has completely changed the way I parent.”
Although every PAT program’s core structure is the same, each district PAT team puts their own spin on things and adds a bit of their own personality. We design the “extras” of our programs based on the needs and interests in our own communities. As a proud member of the Kirkwood School District PAT crew, I can tell you we take serving our community very seriously. We feel honored to be a part of your parenting journey. We are growing and learning right alongside you!
If you visit our website or social media pages, you will see our recently launched podcast (topics are submitted by our community!), groups for parents only, and fun opportunities for parents and children together. We hope that our dedication to networking with our community partnerships shines through; they are true superstars in our eyes.
In true Parent Educator fashion, I will leave you with one not-so-top secret parenting tip: the very best teaching tool your child will ever have is easy to access, has lots of bells and whistles, can hit every item on a developmental checklist, and is built for connection: it’s YOU.
Live in another district? Visit https://parentsasteachers.org/ to find your PAT contact information.
Penny Chastain is a Parent Educator and Program Coordinator for the Kirkwood School District PAT Program. Together with her husband of 35 years, she has managed to keep alive–then transition–3 amazing children into adulthood. She is lucky enough to live near her favorite humans–3 grandchildren who make her laugh, keep her humble, and provide a great landscape to put her work skills into practice.