Thursday, April 26, 2012
Hopping Ahead with Parents as Teachers
Adryan, four months old, looks around with curious eyes and a bright smile in the arms of his father, Virgil. Seeing Lorina, his family’s Parents as Teachers Parent Educator, he begins to laugh and bounce, fitting of his Hopi given name, which means “hopping one”.
Virgil Joshevana and Toya Hood, Adryan’s devoted parents, are both members of the Hopi Indian Tribe. Before Adryan was born, Virgil and Toya wanted to make sure they had as much parenting information as possible, so they chose to enroll in Parents as Teachers, a free home visiting program funded by First Things First for parents with young children in the Verde Valley.
“There are different ways to raise your kids,” says Virgil, Adryan’s father. “This program gives us more information on ways to raise children. Without it, we would only know what we know.”
Lorina, Parent Educator with Parents as Teachers, visits the family at their home in Camp Verde every two weeks. Each time she visits, Lorina brings activities, handouts on Adryan’s stage of development, books for Adryan to promote his language and literacy development, and connects the young family to any resources they may need. As a Parent Educator, Lorina is connected, and knows about the variety of programs available in the Verde Valley area for families raising young children.
Parents as Teachers is designed so that families meet with Parent Educators in the home, the most familiar environment for the baby, Toya appreciates the convenience of this. “Trying to meet somewhere else with a baby is a hassle,” she explains. Toya keeps the handouts Lorina gives her and plans to share the information with her pregnant friends and her friends with babies. That way, what she learns can benefit everyone.
In all cultures, parents are a child’s first teacher. From the day they are born, children begin building the brain connections that will serve as the foundation for a lifetime of learning. At four months old, Adryan is going through one of his most critical periods of learning and development. Together, his parents, family and Parent Educator Lorina are working to make sure he is healthy, learning, and growing towards his full potential.
Already ahead of his age group, Adryan is rolling and scooting at a stage normal for a baby weeks older than he is, investigating the world around him with enthusiastic determination. Next time Lorina visits, she plans to bring information on child-proofing a home. With Adryan’s eagerness to explore and learn, Virgil and Toya will welcome it.
Parents as Teachers is a program of Arizona’s Children Association and is funded by First Things First in the Verde Valley. For more information on Parents as Teachers, please call Arizona’s Children Association at 1-888-771-3435 X 2409.
Special thanks to First Things First for this story contribution. For more information on First Things First, the statewide organization that works to ensure all children ages birth to five years are healthy and ready to succeed, please visit www.azftf.gov.