“Tell me and I forget, Teach me and I may remember, Involve me and I Learn” by Benjamin Franklin. This is a favorite quote of Yankton County Parents as Teachers Educator/Coordinator, Deanna Branaugh. “I feel this quote encompasses exactly the investment that we want our parents in our program to follow. We feel that Parents are the first and most important teachers that a child will have. In the PAT program, we empower the parents to practice the activities that we do in a visit with the children until our next visit”
Yankton County Parents as Teachers is a home visitation and family support program that focuses on early childhood development for children age prenatal through age three. The PAT program consists of weekly to bi-weekly home visits depending on the child and their family needs. Currently 11 families and 12 children are enrolled in the PAT program. In 2015, 196 visits were provided to 23 families. 30 children had developmental screenings completed and 161 books were given out. 71 family members attended the monthly Group Connections.
Literacy is encouraged in each and every visit and each child receives a free book each month. Families are encouraged to use the community resources such as library time and activities that take place in the parks and other parts of our community. Group Connections are held monthly to encourage families to get to know other families. Some of the more recent group connections included an Olympic Carnival, a visit to the Splash Park by the bridge, a Walk along the Story Walk on the bridge, and our most recent Pumpkin and fall activity.
The development of each child is reviewed each month and every year a developmental screening is completed. This provides the opportunity for referrals to be made if significant delays are discovered.
The programs centers around a three part approach. Parent Child Interaction is activity based and the parent and child work on an activity together with guidance and suggestions from their educator. These activities might include helping a child work on stacking blocks and then sorting them by colors. An infant will work on tummy time with their parent or learning how to roll over. Development-Centered Parenting will explore the ages and stages that a child goes through and provides help and support in areas such as weaning from the bottle, toilet training, , learning to use scissors for the first time as well as topics including attachment, discipline, health, nutrition, safety, sleep, and transitions and routines. Family Well-Being assists the family in finding community resources to help with job or housing searches. This is also the opportunity to encourage community events and resources and link the family to events such as the Make a Difference Day Coat Give Away or the Head Start program.
Our program recently helped a young mom who lacked confidence in raising her first child. Her daughter was born with a heart condition and she lacked support from friends with children. Weekly visits were scheduled to give her support and to help her through those tough early days. Within 2 months time, she was much more confident and enjoying all of the milestones of her child. She was glad to have the company and to have someone to tell her that she was doing a great job as well as offer suggestions. Her daughter is now doing well and visits will be offered twice monthly.