PCHP Parent & Early Learning Specialist Lisa Torrey
Lisa Torrey, a PCHP Parent turned Early Learning Specialist writes about the critical impact of
Pittsfield’s PCHP site.
I am writing to advocate for a program we are fortunate to have in Pittsfield Public Schools. The Parent Child Home Program is an educational program for children ages 2 and 3 and their parents/ caregivers. The program is a 2 year program, a trained Early Learning Specialist (ELS) from Pittsfield Public Schools comes 2 times a week for ½ hour sessions. The ELS brings educational books and toys, 1 each week. The home visitor does an introduction and a review of these materials weekly, modeling fun ways for the parent and child to interact. The premise for the program is to prepare the child for school readiness and success and to recognize the parent as the child’s first teacher.
My son Ethan started the program in 2004 and graduated from the program in 2006. My husband stayed home with him during the day while I worked outside the home. For these 2 years on the program my son and husband thrived. I knew during these visits my son and husband were learning fun ways to interact with each other. I remember coming home from work looking forward to what the ELS had introduced or reviewed. I would look forward to the guide sheets she had left and looked forward to working with my son as well. Ethan was very well prepared for success in school. He went to school very confident and eager to learn. He continues his educational success to this day. He has always maintained an A average and now that he is in middle school he has never missed being on the honor roll. And he is in all honors classes for his core subjects. I credit The Parent Child Home Program for his success.
When my daughter was born in 2006, I opened a home day care. When she was 2 I did the program with her and my daycare children. I looked forward to my ELS coming 2 times a week, showing me fun activities to do with the children. They also started to run playgroups once a week at Morningside School, this was a great way to incorporate the social piece of school and for the children to feel comfortable coming to school. Playgroups last an hour and consist of free play, story time, a craft themed to go along with the story and a snack. My daughter is now in 3rd grade and she too went to school ready and eager to learn. She is also successful in school and I credit the techniques I learned in my time with The Parent-Child Home Program.
I always said I would love to work for this amazing program and in January 2011 I got my wish. I have been an ELS for the past 4 years. During this time I have had the pleasure of modeling this program to many children and families in my community. I have seen not only children grow and change, but their parents/caregivers change too. I have seen children become more confident and seen parents become confident teachers. I have witnessed miracles, in every sense of the word. I have seen children get early interventions that would have otherwise slipped through the educational cracks of our school system. I have seen families living in poverty receive services they desperately need. I have been proud and humbled by the work I have done and continue to do. The passion to make this world, this community better continues to grow in me. Please save this amazing program, which has served our community for the past 45 years. The Parent Child Home Program’s success has been proven over and over again and deserves the funding to continue.
Lisa’s son Ethan when he was a 2-year old in the Program, and today at 12 years old.
Lisa’s daughter Rachel as a 2-year old in the Program, and today at 8 years old.