The Parents as Teachers (PAT) program is a home visiting program for families with young children. Once or twice a month, the parent educators visit families in their homes to provide a comfortable setting for support and connection with their child. Parents as Teachers aims to provide positive parenting support, increase parent knowledge of their child’s development and improve parenting practices.
In addition to home visits, they also coordinate monthly Group Connections where families in the program can meet and connect with each other. They have a meal together and participate in a planned activity, whether it be simple sensory play or swimming at the pool.
There are currently 45 families in Juneau that are participating with several more on a wait list. Emily is one of three Parents as Teachers Coordinators in Juneau. She says the program is special because it is based on inclusion and meeting parents wherever they are at on their parenting journey. The coordinators aim to support parents through the tough reality that parenting can be difficult, but to also encourage and educate parents to be the best they can be for their child. Families are able to build a connection with the coordinators and discuss child development and accurate milestones. PAT also conducts developmental and social and emotional screenings to provide accurate measures of the children's development and refer to outside services, if needed.
They have seen high rates of success among their families. Based on survey results from parents exiting the program, there is a significant increase in understanding of child development, increased ability to deal with stresses of parenting and life in general and an increased ability to meet their child’s social and emotional needs. This program has displayed so much success for the parents that are able to participate, but lack of funding means a long wait list. We encourage everyone to talk about the importance of programs like these in the community and advocate for more of these resources.
With every visit, families receive a free book for their child. If you'd like to help PAT directly, you can donate hardcover, cardboard books for infants at the AEYC-SEA.