Do you remember who taught you to say your first word, use a spoon, to walk? Chances are, it was a parent. Parents are our earliest teachers, setting the course for how we learn for the rest of our lives.
But parents often need support to be the best teachers for their children. Child Care Consultants are providing that support through Parents as Teachers, a national, evidence-based early childhood home visiting program.
Now in York County for the first time, thanks to a grant from YCCF’s Fund for York County, the model uses a relationship-based approach to making sure children are ready for school. Learning experiences are customized for each family, and include home visits, group meetings with other families, health and development screenings, and access to resources for each family.
Harvard-based research shows that by building upon parent and caregiver skills and focusing on specific stresses faced by the children and family, an individualized plan positively impacts children’s school readiness and narrows the achievement gap between children living in poverty and those who aren’t.
It is especially important in York City, where 55% of students live in acute poverty, only 21% of elementary school students are proficient in reading, and only 8% are proficient in math. Parents as Teachers is currently serving 20 families in its pilot phase.
Education is a core focus for the Fund for York County, helping improve children’s ability to succeed academically and reducing the stresses that prevent them from coming to school each day, ready to learn. A strong foundation helps children be well-prepared for life and work and is the key to their future and the future of our community.