Parents as Teachers (PAT)

Parents as Teachers in AlakanukAlaska’s Parents as Teachers (PAT) program provides parent education and family support to families of young children in more than 50 communities and villages across the state. A variety of agencies sponsor Alaska’s PAT programs, including school districts, Alaska Native associations, tribal governments, health organizations, and non-profits. Some programs serve families throughout pregnancy until their child turns three years of age, while others continue to serve families until their child enters kindergarten.

The RurAL CAP (Rural Alaska Community Action Program) PAT program, for example, served 343 families (429 children) in 17 communities across the state last year. Among these were Kodiak, Mountain Village, Savoonga, Marshall, and Alakanuk, to name a few.

Certified parent educators work closely with parents, providing information and tools to assist them in helping their children reach their full potential. Parents receive valuable information on each stage of development and learn fun activities that capture teachable moments in everyday life that will enhance their children’s language development, intellectual growth, social development, and motor skills. This holistic approach includes home visits as well as regular group socials.

Group socials vary from community to community, based on interest, community needs, and the time of year. Parents made books with their children at a social event in Alakanuk last fall.

“Group socials are a good way for children to interact with and get to know other children as well as for parents to share ideas and have fun with other parents,” said Alice Edmund, Alakanuk’s Family Visitor. “And we always work in some important information into the program. At this event, we talked about the importance of brushing teeth and baby bottle tooth decay and distributed toothbrushes for the children, compliments of the YKHC dental department.”

For more information on Parents as Teachers Programs in Alaska, please contact Melissa Pickle, Parents as Teachers Alaska State coordinator at or (907) 865-7345.

This article appeared in the April 2008 Best Beginnings E-newsletter. Please refer to our Content Reproduction Policy if you are interested in reproducing content provided on this website.

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