ELKO – Parents who want to help their children succeed in school can find what they are looking for at The Children’s Cabinet.
The Children’s Cabinet is a nonprofit agency dedicated to child development. Employees at the local branch want parents to know they are here for the community.
Their mission is to keep children safe and families together, according to Krystal Pyatt, communications specialist.
“We have a variety of resources throughout the state and in Elko,” stated Pyatt. “Our focus is to support child care providers with tools and resources, and to support parents with our free parenting classes and ‘Parents as Teachers Program’ which prepares children for kindergarten.”
Meghann Rangel leads the Parents as Teachers Program.
“Prior to that they did have someone that did subsidy that worked with the welfare office through the Children’s Cabinet,” said Sarah Carone who leads the Quality Rating and Improvement System program, a rating system for child care providers. “I started working with child care providers doing training and offering quality and getting to know the community. Then the quality rating system came around, so I became a coach for that.”
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“The Children’s Cabinet Quality Rating and Improvement Systems Program supports licensed child care providers (centers only at this time) in achieving a higher knowledge, skills, practices or environment,” Pyatt said. “The Children’s Cabinet QRIS coaches are trained in the Infant/Toddler Environmental Rating Scale and the Early Childhood Environmental Rating Scale.”
“I think for us, we are more educating the adults around the children than educating the children themselves,” said Carone. “When I go into care centers I am working with the adults to improve the environments and language and relationships with children. When Meghann goes in a home she is teaching them how to teach their children at home.”
“We are here to support families prenatally through kindergarten,” Rangel said. “If we have a pregnant mother she can enroll in our Parents as Teachers home visitation program. Then we continue following her and that child for at least two years. During the visits we take information on their child’s development, parenting information and focus on family well-being, making sure that they are connected to any resources in the community they might need to help their family be successful.”
“Many of our parenting classes help parents prepare children for kindergarten, bonding through play, and even what to expect during your child’s development,” Pyatt said. “For child care providers, we cover everything from what activities to do with children to inspire social emotional learning, how to manage challenging behavior when it comes up, and how to create a diverse learning environment for little ones.”
The “Parents as Teachers Program” is a free service.
According to the agency’s brochure, “Parents as Teachers” children are healthy, safe and ready to learn. They score higher on kindergarten readiness tests, they are better problem solvers and they are more advanced in language and social development.
The parents are also more informed. The program helps parents be more involved in their child’s education, connects them with play and reading time, and helps boost confidence in the parental role.
“The ‘Parents as Teachers Program’ specifically, works with families with all different risk factors or needs. We have some families that are dealing with a variety of issues whether its substance abuse or concerns about the child’s development.”
“We do get referrals from DCFS (Division of Child and Family Services),” Rangel said.
“We have a home visitor that provides Spanish speaking services,” Rangel said.
She said parents can reach out to them for their services. “We would complete the enrollment with them and part of our services are that we go and visit them on a weekly basis. If mom is working we will do those visits around her schedule. We try to go at a time when she is home with the child. We gear our home visits toward the needs of that family. It’s really tailored to what that family needs.”
“Once a month we have a group social with all of our families in our ‘Parents as Teachers Program’ so we can bring those families together so they can rely on each other and do activities. This month we are all going to the children’s library to do an activity with the children and read a book.”
Carone is busy with helping local child care centers, including coaching them for the rating system.
“A big part of QRIS is helping families understand what high quality care is and what to look for,” Carone said. “In ‘the rurals’ that’s a little bit harder because there is not a lot available. We serve Elko, Spring Creek, Wells, Winnemucca, Battle Mountain and Ely.”
“I am trained in both the ‘iters’ and ‘ecers.’ (environmental rating scales for infant-toddler or early childhood.) “I go in and use those to teach best practices for providing the high quality of care. I work in classrooms with teachers and give suggestions on language or materials.”
This story has been altered on Dec. 1, 2021 to include minor corrections.
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