How do you create a legacy?

It’s always rewarding to do good work, but it’s especially rewarding to know you’ve contributed to a greater good.

Parents as Teachers looked very different when I came here 13 years ago! I am extremely proud of the organization it has become and appreciate beyond words the opportunity I was given to lead the communication efforts that helped achieve so much.

One of my colleagues shared a delightful holiday card she received out of the blue from a family she visited as a Parents as Teachers parent educator a decade ago. They still remember how she touched their lives.

Never doubt that you are having an impact!

2013 opens new opportunities for all of us. I will be moving on to apply my skills in other ways; others will be picking up the torch here and continuing to impact countless numbers of lives in exciting and positive ways. Please continue your support for Parents as Teachers.

Opportunity

Onward! New opportunities await.

Photo used under Creative Commons license via Scott Wills photostream.

Thoughts for a New Year

Make 2013 a year of personal growth and development. Here are a few thoughts to jump start your year. They’re not mine, but worth sharing. (Read the full article.)

  1. Foster your own personal growth.
  2. Be present in this moment.
  3. Focus on your authenticity and integrity.
  4. Turn your goals into daily habits.
  5. Be ambitious enough to fail, and be OK with it.
  6. Choose to push forward even when it hurts.
  7. Let go of needless worries and old wounds.
  8. Spend time with those who inspire you.
  9. Help others when you’re able.
  10. Rest your ego and the meaningless comparisons.
New Year's plans

Make 2013 a good one so all children will learn, grow and develop to realize their full potential!

Does more classroom time = more learning?

More time in school

Does more classroom time = more learning?

Students in five states—Colorado, Connecticut, Massachusetts, New York, and Tennessee—will spend more time in the classroom starting next year. It’s part of an effort to improve math and science learning and increase exposure to arts and music, two areas often eliminated by education budget cuts.

Officials, including Education Secretary Arne Duncan, expect that more classroom time will lead to more learning. This news comes on the tails of two reports earlier this week that U.S. students lag behind their peers in other countries in math and science.

But will logging 300 more classroom hours annually do the trick? Or would those federal, state and district dollars funding this three-year pilot be more effective supporting early education efforts getting children ready to really learn when they start kindergarten?!

What’s remarkable is that in all the countries, this concept of an early start is there over and over again,” said Michael O. Martin of the International Study Center which authored one of the reports. “You can get the early childhood experience in a variety of ways, but it’s important you get it.”

Dr. Edward Zigler, renown Yale researcher, agrees in his study of Parents as Teachers.

This study says those states that wait to start early childhood education until age 4 are making a huge mistake…by starting at birth, Parents as Teachers starts at just the right time.” 

happybaby

Do you have a professional development plan?

Teachers have it. So do doctors, dentists, engineers, lawyers and financial planners. It’s a plan to maintain and upgrade your professional expertise to not only stay on top of your game but to ensure your students/patients/clients are receiving the very best advice and expertise.

The New Jersey Society of Certified Public Accountants offers these suggestions when it comes to creating a career roadmap. If your field is early childhood, shouldn’t your professional development plan include something similar?

PAT_Knowledge Studio_pms

The Knowledge Studio powered by Parents as Teachers is a special division of Parents as Teachers that offers specialized curricula and training—both online and face-to-face—in a variety of topic-specific areas for any professional working with children and families. These à la carte options take into account your learning style, time and budget and allow you to come back time and again to add expertise to your learning portfolio.

Which of these topic areas could add new skills to your portfolio?

Building brains: it starts here.

There are nearly 21 million children in the U.S. age 5 or younger…the period in life that scientists tell us has more impact on a child’s development than any other. And although there are 3 million more preschoolers than teenagers, we spend more on education for teens than for infants, toddlers and preschoolers combined. It’s not a good strategy.

Fourth- and eighth-grade students in the United States continue to lag behind students in other countries in math and science, says this New York Time article. It doesn’t have to be this way.

In the Ferguson Florissant School District in Missouri, children who have participated in the district’s Parents as Teachers program have consistently scored significantly higher in math and reading than their peers.

How does this happen? The International Study Center at Boston College has measured international trends in fourth- and eighth-grade math and science achievement for 20 years. They found that students whose parents engaged with them often—singing or playing number games and reading aloud—were higher achievers.

They also found that students with preschool experience performed better. This supports findings by Yale researcher Dr. Edward Zigler that participation in Parents as Teachers predicts children’s school readiness and third grade achievement, regardless of income level.

Parents as Teachers builds parenting skills

Parents as Teachers builds parenting skills

At a time when the U.S. economy is so fragile, shouldn’t we be engaging families with their children, schools and other parents in order to maximize the brain power of every future American worker?

Investing modest dollars in proven family engagement strategies such as Parents as Teachers will help eliminate the lag in U.S. student performance, strengthen families and communities, and position the United States and our citizens to regain our position as the world’s economic and intellectual engine.