Long-time friend and former Four Oaks board member Jeff Davis recently spent time with a popular program at the Dubuque campus, Parents as Teachers.
Please read Jeff’s observations about his time with Patty Jungers to get a glimpse about what it looks like to make a difference in a child’s life:
Parenting, and being good at it, is probably the single most important thing we do in this life. Because being a great parent makes great kids, and that heritage that a person leaves is about as lasting and self-perpetuating an accomplishment as anything we can do on this earth.
Being not such a good parent.......that needs no explaining.
And these truths are what makes our PARENTS AS TEACHERS program so great. I saw it firsthand on a beautiful, warm, crisp October day doing home visits with Four Oaks' Patty Jungers in Dubuque, who, by the way, is a real pro at what she does.
Both the child and the parent were excited to see Patty. Neither had not forgotten her. No, not in the least. Which demonstrates the positive power of the program.
The dynamic teaching that this program brings is powerful to witness. The child is fully attentive and engaged, there's no fidgeting or yawning going on. From minute 1 to minute 40, the child eagerly responds to the learning task that Patty brings. Numbers, letters, colors, spatial understanding........the tasks are varied and the child's progress is evident. The tools are simple but creative, and highly engaging. The positive encouragement is appropriate and effective. Positive reenforcement gives the child a sense of satisfaction and pride in accomplishment, and is reasonable and not over the top. Not once did I see a child withdraw from a task, give up without mastering the lesson.
Equally impressive, and perhaps the richest element coming from the visit, is the oversight of the parent and the learning that is taking place on her part. She witnesses firsthand a powerful intellectual engagement with her child, and the means by which that engagement, and subsequent learning, takes place. The look in her eyes, as well as her verbal expression of appreciation, makes her gratitude apparent. She has learned by direct observation not only how to teach, but how to provide the encouragement and reenforcement that will make her child a wideopen and inquisitive sponge for learning going forward. Moreover, she gains respect for her child's intellect and his/her potential. Just as the respect of the child for the parent is a good thing, so is respect.......not just love.........for the child on the part of the parent. Another important benefit of our TEACHERS AS PARENTS program.
As the child helps Patty gather up the teaching aids that have been used, its clear that the next visit is already being anticipated and looked forward to.
My witnessing of this program on a firsthand basis demonstrates clearly to me that any child can benefit from Patty's teaching, and that the likelihood of educational success is enhanced for the child. And the parent has learned important lessons as well, learning that is going to make her a better mom and a stronger positive force for later classroom success for her child.