Published Thursday, October 04, 2012
By REBECCA LEFTWICH
As communities across the nation prepare to Read for the Record today, the Parents as Teachers partnership will be on hand to bring its early literacy mission to Coweta families.
Read for the Record, which annually brings children together with valued grownups in their lives to share a book — this year, “Ladybug Girl and the Bug Squad” by David Soman and Jacky Davis — on the same day as millions of others, is sponsored annually in Coweta County elementary schools by Parents as Teachers.
The effort is funded by Partners Advancing Childhood Education, a school readiness initiative funded by the United Way of Greater Atlanta, which provides technical assistance and resources to 13 counties in metro Atlanta. PACE seeks to address the early learning needs of young children by implementing a parent engagement and school transition program model, coordinating services and advocating for policy and systems change through programs like Parents as Teachers.
“It is awesome to have a early learning program like Parents as Teachers in the Coweta County School System to help families and children to be engaged in early literacy activities,” said Princess Walton, who coordinates the program.
To date, Parents as Teachers has been implemented in two target Coweta elementary schools, Ruth Hill and Jefferson Parkway. Ruth Hill currently has 36 children enrolled and Jefferson Parkway’s program has 15 children. Parents as Teachers centers at each school are equipped with child development and parenting materials, children’s resources and computers.
A literacy fair sponsored by the program at Jefferson Parkway last spring drew several families, allowing both children and adults to participate in literacy activities that included songs, skits and arts and crafts. Participating children received free books, and parents were provided with educational materials including tips on promoting a love of reading in their children by reading with them.
“Providing these resources and early literacy activities to families, children and the community helps to develop and broaden children’s attention span,” Walton said. “[It] encourages children to interact with others and become more involved in learning activities.”
Partnering with Barnes and Noble Booksellers, Parents as Teachers helps provide children’s books to the Coweta County Health Department as well as for the waiting area of Samaritan Clinic. Parents as Teachers also collaborates with the Ferst Foundation to provide families and children with free books.
At the Summit YMCA, the PAT program held a school readiness camp for 32 four- and five-year-olds from the targeted school community. Participants in the free summer camp learned literacy and other school readiness skills in preparation for attending pre-school and kindergarten.