Monday October 22, 2012

The Parent-Child Home Prog ram, the literacy and parenting program that helps families in poverty prepare children for school, is expanding in Berkshire County.

The Central Berkshire Regional School District is now seeking 10 families to pilot the home-based school readiness program this fall. It is designed for families with children ages 18 month to three years.

It's provided at no charge.

Central Berkshire, in partnership with Child Care of the Berkshires Inc. in North Adams, will now sponsor a trained home visitor to come to a participating family's home or another site twice a week for a 30-minute visit with a child and caregiver among the school district's seven towns. At each visit, the Parent-Child Home Program (PCHP) visitor brings a toy, book, puzzle or game for the family to keep.

Together, the PCHP visitor will work with parents/caregivers to help them learn effective ways to use the materials to teach and help the child to expand their vocabulary, recognize colors, shapes, letters, numbers and gain other key skills and knowledge necessary to a child to be successful in school. The program is based on the national Parent-Child Home Program.

"This is what we want, a community with comprehensive services that reach out to families at all levels," said Anne Nemetz-Carlson, executive director of Child Care of the Berkshires.


Advertisement

In Berkshire County, PCHP pro grams exist through Pitts field Public Schools, Child Care of the Berk shires, and in the Central Berkshire Reg ional School District, once enrollment in the program is established.

On Thursday, Pittsfield also announced it received a $2,000 grant from Target stores. Sue Doucette, Pitts field's early childhood pro grams coordinator, said the new grant supplements its funding allocation from the city and a state grant, will be used to purchase materials for families for home visits. The Pittsfield program currently serves about 80 children.

Doucette said Pittsfield's kindergarten screening has consistently shown that children who have participated in PCHP visits enter kindergarten with higher readiness scores than many of their non-participating peers.

To reach Jenn Smith:
jsmith@berkshireeagle.com,
or (413) 496-6239
On Twitter: @JennSmith_Ink

For information ...

To reach Parent-Child Home programs in Berkshire County:

Central Berkshire Regional School District: Superintendent's office, (413) 684-0232, ext. 2, or email dkoch@cbrsd.org.

Pittsfield Public Schools: (413) 448-9690, ext. 23.

Child Care of the Berkshires: Gretchen Wells, (413) 664-4821 or email gwells@ccberkshire.org.