South Orangetown’s ParentChild+ program entered its third year in October with a new cohort of six families and a new face: Early Learning Specialist Laura Andreotti. Andreotti, who works with families in both SOCSD and Suffern Central School District, was born and raised in Argentina and has an educational background in sign language, which she integrates into home visits.
The two-year, ParentChild+ program, offered through a partnership with Rockland 21C, operates from October through April with twice-weekly, 30-minute home visits. During each visit, Andreotti models reading and educational play with participating parents and their toddlers. The book and toy introduced each week typically share a theme to reinforce words and concepts; sometimes, learning is further extended with a hands-on craft or game. The in-home approach enables families who may not have access to preschool to engage in high quality, early childhood education. There is no cost to participate and enrolled families receive free books and toys as part of the program.
“We graduated our first group of preschoolers in April and are thrilled to welcome our new ParentChild+ families,” said Family Engagement Center Coordinator AJ Walker, who oversees the SOCSD program. She and Andreotti meet on a weekly basis and participate in ongoing professional development through the national ParentChild+ organization.
Andreotti noted that most weekly sessions are typically scheduled for the afternoons, when parents have returned from work. “A benefit of the timing is that older siblings who are home from school enjoy joining in,” she explained.
ParentChild+ is a nationally-recognized program based on extensive research documenting the powerful impact of early childhood education on children’s cognitive and social development. Partnering with Rockland 21C is one way for the District to expand access to early childhood literacy, school readiness and parenting support for local families in need.