Parents as Teachers (PAT)

“You are your child’s first and most important teacher.” This is the motto of our “Parents as Teachers” program, designed to help parents meet the developmental benchmarks that are so vital for their child’s success in school and later on in life.

Did you know that most states require children to be in school by age 6–at which point a child’s brain is already 90% developed? That means it’s up to the parents to provide a strong foundation for the rest of their child’s education. Unfortunately, many parents don’t even know what it means for their child to be “on track for kindergarten readiness”. Ask yourself: how high should your child be able to count by age four? If your child can recognize the first sixteen letters of the alphabet, plus the letters in his or her name, by age six–is that enough? Parents as Teachers uses a four-pronged approach to provide family-centered assessments and help families set achievable goals for the future. Our services are based on extensive research and completely free of charge!

A. Assessments and Goals

Our Parent Educators work together with your family to take stock of your family’s strengths, resources, and needs. These are the basis of your family goals, centered on kindergarten-readiness, family well-being, and child development. These goals can be short term—focused on organizing your household, spending more quality time with your child, or even just teaching your child how to safely handle scissors—or they can be longer term, career-oriented goals, such as returning to school as a parent, pursuing a more advanced degree, or breaking into a new field. Once you have decided on some promising goals, our parent educators help you develop a plan, including a timeline, specific steps necessary to achieve your goals, and the resources that you could use.

B. Our 4-Pronged Approach

        1. Personal Visits

Once you are enrolled in our program you will receive home visits at least twice a month, at your convenience. Each visit will last approximately 1-1.5 hours. Parent Educators will typically provide activities and handouts tailored to your goals and your child’s developmental needs. These visits also provide you and your Parent Educator an opportunity to reflect on your progress so far, including successes, continuing obstacles, and strategies for the future.

        2. Group Connections

Monthly Group Connections provide a fun atmosphere where parents can, share their experiences, and find inspiration for dealing with the day-to-day challenges of parenting.

        3. Child Screening

Within 90 days of enrollment we begin our annual health & developmental screenings to identify a child’s strengths and abilities, and to ensure that your child is meeting all of the right developmental benchmarks!

        4. Resource Network

We know our way around Erie County—and we know how to get you in touch with the services you need.


Sign up today, or contact the Center for a fully-detailed plan to get your child ready for kindergarten, and the rest of his or her life. Remember: your child was born to learn!