Fun at the Fire Station
More than two dozen children had the opportunity to tour Nevada Fire Department, sit in the fire trucks and learn about fire safety at a Wednesday morning Group Connections program organized by Nevada R-5 Parents as Teachers.
“We have our monthly Group Connections and the fire station was kind enough to let us come here and take a tour, see the fire trucks,” Sherry Brown, Parents as Teachers coordinator, said. “We’re trying to promote Fire Safety Month and so we gave out hand outs to all the families about being safe and preparing for emergencies. This goes along with our curriculum and our monthly group meeting requirements that we have.”
What is Group Connections?
“Group Connections is just a time when families can come together and network with other parents and children can interact with other children,” Brown said. “We try to give developmental information and we try to give a book at most of them. It’s just a time for families to come together and share with their children.”
What does Parents as Teachers do?
“Parents as Teachers is a program for families from prenatal to Kindergarten entry,” Brown said. “Our mission is to empower parents so that the children will reach their full potential and we do that through our monthly Group Connections like you see here where we gave out information on planning for emergencies and staying safe. We have home visits for families. We do annual screenings once a year for all children and we’re also a resource network for our families.”
Brown said a family is eligible to begin services when they find out they’re pregnant.
When did Parents as Teachers start?
“Thirty-five years ago,” Brown said. “It was mandated that all school districts in Missouri have a Parents as Teachers program and we’re still around today.”
How successful has it been?
“Very successful,” she said. “We can look at the children that have been in our Parents as Teachers program and see how they’re succeeding in school and how we are teaching the parents the importance of face-to-face communication with their children, the importance of reading to their children, and we can see that as the kids start school. We can see those that have been read to regularly and that have that interaction with the parents.”
How do people contact you?
“They call Nevada School’s Parents as Teachers at 448-2061 and there is myself, Megan Smith and Hannah Hawks,” Brown said. “We would be happy to talk to any family. We have a Facebook page, follow us and that’s where you’ll find out about all of our events and we will sometimes share information that’s just good to know.”
What’s the best thing about Parents as Teachers?
“Working with families like you saw today,” Brown said. “We love seeing the parents and the children interact and have fun together and sending them home with a good book so that they can read and spend time with their kids and seeing those success stories when we go into homes to do home visits and we’ll have a family that will pull out something that they have done from the last visit and say ‘oh look, you told us to be sorting colors and look at her now, she can match the reds.’ That’s one of the best things when we see parents that are using the information we give them and helping those children reach their full potential.”
Brown said Nevada R-5 Parents as Teachers serve more than 400 local families each year, 430 this year.