Sixty Juneau families with young children will get educational assistance from the Parents as Teachers program, thanks to a $150,000 state grant to the Association for the Education of Young Children of Southeast Alaska.
The program brings educators into the home every month, armed with books and other tools to help parents teach their pre-school children. AEYC Director Joy Lyon says the program is from prenatal to age three.
“Those visits are so important supporting the family with really up to date information about child development specific to their child and their issues,” Lyons says. “So it’s giving the families all these tools to really be successful in supporting their children’s learning.”
Lyons says a pilot program launched this fall with 20 families. The expanded program will support 60 families over three years.
She says it’s a community-wide program, accessible to anyone.
“We are going to give special enrollment for families that are really under a lot of stress. And we’re working with the medical community as well as social services so that we can prioritize families,” she says. “Also we want it to be seen as community-wide; all parents have a lot stress!”
The program Parents as Teachers is international.
Research indicates that kids are more ready for pre-school and kindergarten. Participating parents are more involved throughout their child’s education. They read to their children more, have increased knowledge and use of positive discipline practices, and reduced stress in the home.
AEYC Southeast is one of four programs to be awarded grants from the Alaska Department of Education and Early Development to expand Parents as Teachers statewide.