For this month’s Leading The Way Profile, we’re beginning by highlighting the Parents As Teachers Home Visiting Model being used in the local community.
Parents As Teachers Home Visiting Model
THERE ARE FOUR DYNAMIC COMPONENTS TO THE PARENTS AS TEACHERS MODEL:
· Personal Visits
· Group Connections
· Resource Network
· Child Screening
TOGETHER, THESE FOUR COMPONENTS FORM A COHESIVE PACKAGE OF SERVICES WITH FOUR PRIMARY GOALS:
1. Increase parent knowledge of early childhood development and improve parent practices
2. Provide early detection of developmental delays and health issues
3. Prevent child abuse and neglect
4. Increase children’s school readiness and success
The Parents as Teachers model for providing services to families with children from the prenatal period to kindergarten has been tested by rigorous peer-reviewed studies and shown to produce results. Affiliates follow the essential requirements of the model, which provide minimum expectations for program design, infrastructure, and service delivery. Parents as Teachers provides support for affiliates to meet those requirements as well as further quality standards that represent best practices in the field.
This evidence-informed and research-based curriculum was developed to equip parent educators with information to identify and build on family strengths, capabilities, and skills and to foster family protective factors. It features family-friendly activities and resources that engage parents in their children’s learning and development and inform their decisions around everything from nutrition to discipline to health. All of the materials for parents are available in English and Spanish.
Through parent educator resources, parent handouts, and activity pages, the curriculum promotes and strengthens the following content areas:
· Child Development
· Parenting Behaviors
· Parent-Child Interaction
· Development-Centered Parenting
· Family Well-Being
The Foundational Curriculum supports expected outcomes in both Parents as Teachers model affiliate programs and in other settings. It does this by:
· Helping parents understand what comes next in the progression of development so they can provide support for all four developmental domains (language, cognitive, social-emotional, and motor) as well as their child’s approaches to learning.
· Providing up-to-date information that enhances parent educators’ knowledge base and guides their role with families, including on sensitive topics such as maternal depression, substance use, mental health, domestic violence, developmental delays, and exposure to neurotoxins.
· Offering easy-to-read handouts designed to reinforce parents’ learning between personal visits, on topics ranging from play to sleep to nutrition to family relationships.
· Suggesting more than 250 activities that explore parent-child interaction in the context of children’s growth and development.
To find out about the Parents As Teachers Model go to: https://parentsasteachers.org
Get To Know Lona…
Tell us a little bit about your background…
I am the youngest daughter of Emily and the late Dale Salois, I grew up on the Blackfeet reservation in Browning, MT. I have been married to my husband Pat for 39 years. We have one son Logan and one grandson Colt, who is the coolest cat on the block. I have many nieces and nephews who I love like my own. I enjoy spending time with my family and beading.
Describe the work you do with families and children…
I am a parent educator for the Early Foundations Home Visiting Program. Our program serves tribal families who are pregnant or have a child age 0-5. We empower families and help them connect with resources and services. We screen for developmental delays and do the appropriate referrals if needed. We provide parents education and support.
What do you think people misunderstand about the work being done with children age 0-5?
In my experience, the biggest misconception I have encountered is people thinking that preschool is babysitting/daycare. They do not realize through all the play the children are doing there is learning happening, goals being met and social/emotional gains being made.
How would you describe the most important work that needs to happen for young children?
I think the most important work that needs to happen for young children is early intervention, getting developmental and health screenings done and getting the children the appropriate services early on to build a strong foundation for later years.
If you could change one social factor impacting families and young children, what would it be and why?
I would wave my magic wand and make drugs and alcohol disappear, they are causing so much heartache and turmoil in families. Babies are being born addicted and living their life with the effects from use is utero. Children are living in unsafe, unstructured environments with their basic needs not being met. The foster care system is overwhelmed as well as the law system.
The work has many rewards-what are some of the challenges and how do you deal with them?
I have worked with families who have made the choice to get clean and sober and seeing how much happier the family is makes me want to work harder to help those who are struggling. At the same time, working with those in active addiction can get frustrating. Addicts/alcoholics use people to use their drug of choice and we as parent educators are not exempt from that. I do not take anything personal and know that I was once in their shoes so I am no better. I know that I cannot give up on them, staying consistent in their life and keeping a positive mindset will hopefully gain their trust and they can start making baby steps forward.
What do you feel you personally get from working with families and children?
Working with children and families has provided my life with purpose. Every single family that I have worked with has taught me something, usually it is the most challenging families that has taught me the greatest life lessons.