Monday, September 16, 2013

Parents as Teachers: A learning play group

I want to toss out a recommendation for an agency that made a big impact on our lives when Brady was young. It's called Parents as Teachers.

To the left is Brady as a toddler at a Parents as Teachers annual Truck Day in rural South Carolina. And below during a Halloween party playing with a friend as a baby (he's the Batman, not the Spiderman, ha!).

For us, the P.A.T. playgroups gave us structure, routine, learning opportunities, somewhere to go and a chance to be social. I was a stay-at-home mom in a suburb with no close friends or family nearby.

It was just the two of us a lot of days, so we went to two different P.A.T. play groups in our area every week and we loved it. We made friends and both learned a lot.

If you have a young child, you can find one near you by checking here. My favorite statement from their website was this:

Parents are their children's first and most influential teachers.

If you've never heard of P.A.T., here is more information on their vision and history from their website.
  • To provide the information, support and encouragement parents need to help their children develop optimally during the crucial early years of life.
  • The early years of a child's life are critical for optimal development and provide the foundation for success in school and in life.
  • All young children and their families deserve the same opportunities to succeed, regardless of any demographic, geographic or economic considerations.
  • In 1981, Missouri pioneered the concept of helping parents embrace their important role as their child’s first and best teacher.
  • The concept for Parents as Teachers was developed in the 1970s when Missouri educators noted that children were beginning kindergarten with varying levels of school readiness.
  • Research showed that greater parent involvement is a critical link in the child's development of learning skills, including reading and writing.
  • Since 1985, Parents as Teachers has expanded to all 50 states and seven other countries.

16 comments:

  1. This is what we are doing in our homeschool. However, when the age shifts, the role of parents changes. Parents are not teachers anymore, but parents are learning facilitator. Our environment, books, experience, experiments and technology are the teachers.

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    1. I can see that, the roles shifting and the source of learning shifting as it becomes more self-guided.

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  2. I like that. It's how we parent(ed)...without a group :)

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    1. That's of course the best place, at home, but a setting like this offers a lot too. We had so much fun.

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  3. I've heard of this but never looked into it. I think as parents, we can continue to be teachers to our children throughout life, at least I hope to continue that relationship with my kids throughout our lives.

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    1. I hope to keep that relationship too, that way as they mature and grow up, they will (hopefully) continue to seek your advice. I think it's an awesome group. I did a story on one here in KS and there were kids of various races playing side by side, not a care in the world. A beautiful lesson.

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  4. I wish every parent saw themselves as their child's first and most important teacher. That statement is 100% true.

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  5. I have never heard of it. But I love it! Thanks for sharing. I will have to look into it for sure!

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    1. Hope you can find one near you. One I went to was in a building, the other in an elementary school.

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  6. This sounds awesome! I've been looking for something like this. Thanks for sharing. :)

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  7. I love the idea of a Parents as Teachers group instead of our local Mums and Tots groups where kids run about without structure and the Mums drink tea and gossip and don't often interact with the kids.

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    1. Oh yes, true, it is more of a together-ness group with learning for both child and parent. There was parental support to, but lots and lots of interaction. We were able to fill out development tests and ask questions of the parent educators too. Of course unstructured free play time where mom gets a break is good sometimes too :)

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  8. This is a great idea. I don't think we have it in Australia. Kids are sponges and soak absolutely everything up. If we as parents can be even more influential (for the better) then it's got to be a good thing :-)

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    1. Well, it says 7 other countries, not sure which ones though. I loved that I learned alongside him about child development and ways to play with him and teach him.

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