The theme of the Parents as Teachers 2019 International Conference, “35 Years: Investing in Families, Impacting Communities,” begins to tell the story of the mission of the Parents as Teachers program. The annual international conference in October was held in St. Louis, Missouri, the birthplace of Parents as Teachers, and hosted more than 1,600 early childhood professionals from across the country who believe in the powerful work of Parents as Teachers.  Through the many presentations, interactive workshops, and networking opportunities, parent educators gained new insight and learned more about best practices to serve families around the world with the most up to date information. Craig Stevenson (Kids Win MO), Callie Peace (KS PAT Association) and Shauna Kerperin (MO PAT Association) presented a workshop on legislative advocacy and how to build a strong voice with decision-makers in support of early childhood and home visiting.

 

Parents As Teachers was founded in the state of Missouri in the early 1980’s by a visionary early childhood educator who noticed vast discrepancies in kindergarten readiness. Following several years of research and collaboration with leaders who recognized the exponential power of parents in early childhood education, a pilot program was created to serve first time parents and their newborns. This program has since grown into a nationwide model serving all 50 States, 115 tribal communities, and 6 other countries. In 2018 alone, Parents as Teachers served 188,253 families in 8,221 zip codes, and 226,904 children through 1.8 million home visits.  The partnerships formed between parent educators and families strengthen the knowledge base of parents so that their children can succeed. Parents As Teachers was founded on the truth that parents are their children’s first and most influential teachers and by providing families with quality in-home parent education the mission to ensure that all children would develop, learn, and  grow to realize their full potential can be accomplished.

 

The mission of MOPATA is to be a leading force in the support, education and quality of programs in Missouri so that all Missouri children will develop to their fullest potential.  The purpose of MOPATA is to provide skill-building, peer learning, networking and advocacy so that all Missouri families will have access to high-quality parenting support through Parents as Teachers affiliates or programs.

 

MOPATA shares in the goals of the Parents as Teachers program:

  • Prevent child abuse and neglect
  • Increase parent knowledge of early childhood development
  • Improve parenting practices, increasing children’s school readiness and success
  • Provide early detection of developmental delays and health issues.

As these goals are realized the outcomes are strong communities, thriving families and healthy, safe children who are ready to learn. The Parents as Teachers evidence-based model is implemented by local organizations, such as school districts, and is offered to families prenatally through kindergarten. Trained parent educators provide four components for families: personal visits, developmental and health screenings, resource referrals and group connections. Personal visits focus on development-centered parenting, parent-child interaction, and family well-being to promote healthy development and learning.

 

To learn more, contact MOPATA at mopata4kids@gmail.com or your local school district.

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