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Parents as Teachers helps prepare children

Published: Wednesday, May 7, 2014 9:36 a.m. CDT • Updated: Wednesday, May 7, 2014 9:46 a.m. CDT

Jennifer Mitchell of Thayer has been part of Parents as Teachers for seven years.

"Parents as Teachers is an educational program for expecting parents and parents with children through age 5. We stop serving families when children enroll in kindergarten," Mitchell said. "We provide parenting information to them, like child development information. We do age-appropriate activities, talking about they can help their children learn."

Mitchell and Sandy Eddy with Clarke County Public Health wanted to raise awareness of Clarke County Public Health's Parents as Teachers program. The educators go through training and use curriculum used throughout the nation for Parents as Teachers.

"The motto of Parents as Teachers is that they're their child's first and best teacher," Mitchell said. "Parents spend the most time with their child in the early years, and so we make sure that time is educational and working on the appropriate things and having age-appropriate expectations for the kids."

Parents as Teachers workers spend time with low-income families who meet certain income guidelines. These guidelines include low income and low education.

"With these families, we then connect them with community resources," Mitchell said. "I love working with families and children. I love helping parents learn how their children grow and learn so those children are more prepared and ready for kindergarten."

Mitchell said she has had positive experiences with families she has helped.

"It's a voluntary program, so the parents really want to be in the program," Mitchell said. "My job is go into somebody's home and help them play with their kids and to connect them to the things they need. what better job can you have than that?"

Parents as Teachers is sponsored by Clarke County Public Health and funded through Kids First Communities through Early Childhood Iowa and Prevent Child Abuse Iowa.

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