Sunnyside Parents as Teachers
Sunnyside Parents As Teachers (PAT) is an evidence-based early childhood family education and support program serving families throughout pregnancy until their child enters kindergarten, with demonstrated positive outcomes for children, families and communities. The teachers are the parents, supported by professional educators who suggest ways they can effectively teach and nurture their young children. This cost-effective program is based on two simple truths-babies are born learning and that parents are their child’s first and most influential teachers. Certified parent educators with a strong background in early childhood development use a research-based curriculum to provide age appropriate information to parents and help them lay a strong foundation for school and life success.
The goals of the program are: 1) to promote school readiness and improve academic achievement 2) to increase parent knowledge of child development and appropriate ways to stimulate their child’s intellectual, language, social, motor development and literacy skills and promote the importance of reading to children from birth 3) to enhance parent-child interaction and strengthen family relationships 4) to detect developmental problems early in order to prevent reading and learning difficulties once the child enters school 5) to develop a strong partnership between parents and schools.
PAT has served approximately 4000 families and over 4500 children in the district area. Currently the Sunnyside PAT program serves 287 families and 373 children who include 91% low income, 71% parents have not graduated from high school, 261 Hispanic, 6 Anglo, 5 Native American, 15 multi-racial, 31 teen parents, 210 parents needing materials in Spanish.
I am a parent of two boys who have been in the program, Parents As Teachers, since my oldest was 6 months. When my wife was pregnant with the second child, we were visited by our parent educator with information to help us understand how the baby was growing.
The parent educator continued to visit our boys with a lot of important information to help us develop the skills that our boys would need to prepare them for school and their future success. We learned how important reading is to ensure their success and to increase their vocabulary. We read to our boys every day possible.
Our youngest was getting ear infections constantly. Our PAT educator informed us that this was something we needed to stay right on top of. As he grew, our educator did evaluations and informed us that our child, Carlos, was not talking on the level that he should normally be for his age. She suggested we have his ears evaluated by the program audiologist. We did. Then our educator referred us to Arizona Early Intervention program. Our doctor also referred us to a specialist at our insistence.
Because of our educator, we became aware of what we needed to do. Our child is now being seen by a therapist. This has helped some. Now that Carlos is three, our educator referred us to the preschool special education program. He qualified to be in a class to get speech therapy.
We are very grateful to Parents As Teachers for the information and guidance to continue to prepare and guide our boys. With their help our son Carlos will have a better chance to excel in school. We learned that the sooner the help needed is given, the better for the child.
I have been part of Parents As Teachers since October 2001. My children Abraham, who is now 7, and Jacob, now 5, were in the program. They are now in second grade and kindergarten. I continue to be involved in the program with my younger child who is now 19 months old.
The program has been a big help with step by step information on the developmental progress of my children not only intellectually, but socially and emotionally. I have become aware of their development and how to help them learn. I have received information on discipline. I have been referred for hearing screenings free of charge for my children.
We have had many opportunities for fun at the schools through Stay and Plays, field trips to the zoo, end of the year celebrations and kindergarten graduation. As a result of these activities, plus the library story hour and the home visits, my children are getting good grades in school. The first day of school was easier for them.
The children’s teachers have commented to me how academically different my children are as opposed to children who did not have the opportunity to be in Parents As Teachers. I want to thank Parents As Teachers and let them know how much I appreciate all the help they give to so many families.