11-12-19 — Parents are a Child's First Teacher
Nov. 12, 2019 ~ First-time parents have many questions about what to expect with their baby’s development, so they often turn to the Olathe Parents as Teachers program for answers and a sense of camaraderie with others in the same situation.
“The goal of Parents as Teachers is that all children will enter kindergarten ready to learn,” said local program coordinator Dorothy Hiatt. “We have a strong team of 11 parent educators serving families in the Olathe School District who have children prenatally through age 3.”
During the 2018-19 school year, Olathe PAT educators served more than 370 families, including 486 children. Parents as Teachers has been in Olathe for 30 years and existed internationally for 35 years.
Parents as Teachers services include:
- Parent/child playgroups at Mill Creek Campus and Ridgeview Elementary School
- Developmental, social emotional, vision and hearing screenings for all PAT families
- Community screening day each November for non-member families
- Referrals for additional screenings and services if needed
- Three Spanish-speaking parent educators
- Resources for teenage mothers
- Group Connections meetings each month
In addition to the regular PAT services, the parent educators coordinate fun activities in the community. A fall tradition is the Roll and Read event during Hispanic Heritage Month offering vendor booths of area organizations with programs and services for families.
“This was the first year we had guest readers and gave a copy of the book ‘Little Blue Truck’ to every family,” Hiatt said. “More than 75 families attended the event!”
This November, PAT will partner with the Olathe Public Library for Kansas Reads to Children activities. A local librarian will visit the Nov. 20 playgroup and read the book “I Like Myself.”
“Literacy is an important part of our program, as well as parent/child interaction, developmental centered parenting, and family well-being,” Hiatt said.
Every Parents as Teachers family receives at least one book per year from their parent educator. Center of Grace donated many books, and PAT uses a Literacy Network of Kansas (LiNK) grant and part of its budget to buy more books for children. Success by 6, a grant from the United Way of Greater Kansas City, provides a book and toy lending library at the Mill Creek Campus location of Parents as Teachers.
The Olathe Parents as Teachers program is located at 300 E. Loula Street, Olathe. For more information, visit their website at www.olatheschools.org/pat or call 913-780-8106.