Friday, September 10, 2010

Parents as Teachers Playgroup

Brystol participated in her first Parents as Teachers playgroup today. Parents as Teachers is a national organization that promotes early childhood intervention and education. It's a free program typically offered through the special services division of the public school district. We found out about P.A.T. when we lived in Oklahoma, and with Bub and Gracie, we took advantage of both the home visits and the playgroup.

During the home visits, a developmental specialist comes to the house to teach and encourage age-appropriate developmental play. The home visit typically is very fun and very casual, but while the child is playing the newly introduced game or activity, the specialist can assess the child to see where they are developmentally, and to ensure they stay on track. If delays are noted over the months or years the specialist is working with your family, he or she can recommend services through the school district or through a child's pediatrician. The parent is also given a list of what things should have occurred or will be occurring developmentally during that child's stage of life. The parent can continue to encourage the developmental process and can report any delays noted over time. It's a partnership really, a very non-invasive process, and one we benefited greatly from in the past. As far as home visits for Brystol, we're on a waiting list. They're not necessary since Brystol is developing normally, but it's nice to have the one-on-one time with an expert and Brystol will enjoy the games and attention.

The playgroup is just that -- a playgroup -- only the P.A.T. playgroup also includes projects or activities to encourage development: arts and crafts to encourage fine motor skills, free playtime to encourage the imagination or social skills, songs and stories during circle time to encourage following directions by sitting and listening, rhythm and music skills, physical activity. The playgroup time is informal, but the developmental specialists are around to assist and educate. For example, at playgroup today, Brystol spent a good bit of time toddling around carrying a doll nearly as big as she is. The specialist spoke to Brystol a few times, commenting on her baby, but then shared with me about Brystol's action being a developmental milestone. She said that early walkers like Brystol begin carrying around very large items -- often large toys or laundry baskets -- and that helps develop their sense of balance. Very interesting!

Painting with Cars


Playtime


Making Faces
(my favorite picture of the day!)


3 comments:

  • Emily

    I love this! I think it would be so fun to take Jacob to something like this on the days Claire is at MDO. How do you find out about the playgoups?

  • Amanda

    Emily -- you could look on the national website to begin with. My school district is not listed, but I found a brochure at the elementary school and called the Early Childhood division for more information. If you don't find your district listed, call either Early Childhood or Special Services. They should be able to tell you what's available in your area.

  • Randi

    Really neat. I've never heard of it before.

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