Spring ISD Home Instructor Natalya Hogan high-fives Celena, during a home visit with her mother, Crystal Pulido.
HOUSTON – June 15, 2016 – A major commitment of Spring ISD’s five-year strategic plan, Every Child 2020, called for creating a home-based school readiness program to help the community’s future students. The district’s Family and Community Engagement Department has been doing just that with a program called Smart Start that helps parents in their own homes learn how to be their child’s first teacher.
“The early years of life are crucial in a child’s development,” said Leticia Grounds, family and community engagement executive director. “The Smart Start program provides parents with strategies and support to increase their child’s school readiness.”
Home instructors have been visiting participating parents and children weekly in their homes throughout the 2015-16 school year. The instructors offer parents guidance in various activities for the children that helps prepare them for school. Vilma Hernández-Gomez, parent practices coordinator, said that although the children benefit immediately from the home visit experiences, perhaps the greatest benefit is the long term impact gained through parent instruction.
“Really, the program is geared to teach the parents. We model, of course, with their children,” said Hernández-Gomez.
During one of the weekly visits, Home Instructor Natalya Hogan discussed nutrition at Crystal Pulido’s home while her daughter, Celena, traced the letters in her name. It’s all part of an individual lesson plan that Hogan prepares for each visit.
“This is what we do – we teach the mom about how to support her child’s development. I know Celena will be ready for kindergarten and I’ll be proud of her because she will do a great job,” said Hogan.
Pulido said the one-on-one interaction with the home instructor has made a good impact on her family. “It’s just about knowing how your child works and how they develop. I would recommend this to anybody,” said Pulido.
The Smart Start program is open to any family in the district that has small children from 18 months to four years of age. Parents interested in participating may contact the Spring ISD Family and Community Engagement Department at 281-891-6013.