A first-time mom from Winslow, Laura Chee has big dreams for her 1-year-old son, Noah.
“I want him to grow up to be respectful and do a lot,” said Laura. “Be active in his community. And help others.”
But visions of her son’s bright future were tempered by feelings of anxiety in the first few months of his life.
“I felt stressed and worried that I wasn’t raising him right,” she said.
Determined to be the best parent she could be for Noah, Laura enrolled in Parents as Teachers, a program that helps parents and caregivers of children 0-5 years of age feel more confident in their role as their child’s first teacher.
Meeting with families in the comfort and privacy of their homes, Parents as Teachers provides coaching, parent education information and connections to other community resources. Administered by Parenting Arizona, the program is funded in the Coconino region by First Things First.
Judie Wimberley, a parent educator with Parents as Teachers, says that young children need plenty of quality interactions with adults and opportunities to play in order to build a solid foundation for learning.
“I like to bring to each visit a book for the children, curriculum about parent-child interactions and developmental stages to families,” said Wimberley, who also takes time during visits to screen young children for health or developmental issues.
After a year in the program, Laura feels much more confident in her role as Noah’s first teacher.
“The program has helped me feel relieved and not be scared,” said Laura. “Like I can teach him anything.”
Through working with her parent educator, Laura has discovered new ways to stimulate Noah’s learning and help him develop good communication, problem-solving and life skills. She’s seen the difference it’s made for her healthy, happy little boy.
“He’s more active and imaginative. He plays and talks more,” she says. “I would definitely recommend this program.”