I would like to sing the praises of a free program available to families with young children in Missouri that many people still don't know about or aren't taking advantage of. Parents as Teachers has been successfully supporting and providing valuable educational opportunities to families in our Cassville School District for 20 years.
I became involved with Parents as Teachers when my first child was born in 1998 and just recently "graduated" from the program when my youngest started kindergarten this fall. As a first time mom, I greatly appreciated the personal visits with our home educator and the affirmation she gave me that I was doing the right things to help my child learn, grow and develop. She gave me handouts and information with additional ideas of things I could do with my child such as games, crafts, outings and even recipes. We also enjoyed attending the group meetings, as a family, and got to meet the parents of other children involved in the program. The themed group meetings offered many fun activities for the kids, such as educational games and crafts, a petting zoo, visits with Santa and the Easter Bunny and refreshments. I think I enjoyed these meetings as much as the kids.
But my favorite aspect of the Parents as Teachers program was Kindergarten Day. This is an opportunity for the 3-, 4-, and 5-year-olds in the program to come to school once a month and visit a kindergarten class. They get to see the classrooms, meet the teachers, interact with the students and get a feel for what school is like. As a result of this program, both my children and I had very positive "first day" experiences when it came time to start kindergarten.
I urge all parents with children age birth to 3 to participate in this fun and informative program. It is voluntary, free and not income based. It is for all children, whether physically or mentally challenged or intellectually advanced. It is also not invasive to your family privacy. If you would like more information, please call the Cassville Parents as Teachers office at 847-4029 or the office of your local school district.