Parentchild+ have been operating in Ballinasloe for five years and since then have served over 70 families. The non-profit organization ran by the Early Learning Initiative are based in the Enterprise Centre. ParentChild+’s vision is that every child enters school ready to succeed because every parent has the knowledge and resources to build school readiness where it starts: in the home environment . There are five trained home visitors all committed to carrying out this vision for our locality.
The programme initially began in the US 50 years ago and since 2007 has established 11 ParentChild+ sites in Ireland. They are open to all families of toddlers aged 16 months to 42 months in the community with no requirements needed to get involved. Families involved receive two 30 minute weekly visits within the academic school year. In total 92 visits are arranged and with Covid-19 these visits are via video call or an outdoor visit. The programme will start up again in term time.
Debra Greenan Co – Ordinator stated: “For the moment we are to stay outdoors or on video call but we hope to be all fully vaccinated soon to bring our learning indoors.”
This is a fun learning opportunity for both parents and children. Families involved receive a selection of educational and developmentally appropriate books and toys to keep, creating a quality home learning environment for them to use at their own leisure.
Although there is no monetary cost involved, there is an expectation for the participation of parents in each session and to make use of the books and toys as often as they can between visits. As well as following on with the weekly activities with a goal of empowering the parents as they are their child’s first and best teacher.
Ballinasloe’s Trained Home Visitors include Debra Grennan, Regina Tyrell, Shauna Somers, Yvonne Dunne, and Seenas Ahammed Sebin all local to the area. These ladies model appropriate parent and child interactions, using a non-directive child-led approach. All are required to have at least a level five QQI with many attaining higher levels and all receive ongoing CPD. All practices are in line with the National Curriculum and Quality Frameworks for Early Years, Síolta and Aistear.
One of the Mums engaged with the Programme Diana Popescu, explains: “It has been an amazing journey for my son and me. We both learnt so much, my son is flying with his colours, numbers, he enjoys books so much. I would highly recommend any parent to have confidence and try this program as it is incredible. I cannot thank enough our home visitor Yvonne, she is great, so nice and Luca enjoyed every single visit. I am sad it is over and will value all that was given to us. THANK YOU!”
Due to increased demand, there has been a waiting period for up to one month to join the programme but for those looking for positive child interactions, increased children’s social-emotional development and to foster pre-literacy skills essential for school readiness please contact Coordinator Debra Grennan Keighery at (086) 060 6002 or email at DGreenan@ncirl.ie. You can visit https://www.parentchildplus.org/ or visit their Facebook page below:
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