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ParentChild+ Helps “Little John” and His Mom, Marie

Boys Town South Florida's ParentChild+ is a research-proven program that enhances children's early development to prepare them for primary school.

Families start this program when their children are between the age of 21 months and 42 months, and an Early Learning Specialist is matched with the family. They then make two visits to the family every week. Early Learning Specialists bring parents appropriate tools and materials, such as individually selected books, educational toys and activities, all which promote verbal interactions, parent-child bonding and school readiness. A unique part of the program is that, when possible, they match the Early Learning Specialist with the same cultural background as the family; this can assist in strengthening the relationship and preventing language barriers.

“ParentChild+ is helping to level the playing field in the communities we serve by supporting our program parents in their role as their child's first teacher, which in turn starts their child on a path to school success," said Jennifer Abaid, Director of Boys Town South Florida's ParentChild+.

Let's take a closer look at one of those families with the help of their Early Learning Specialist, who worked with “Little John" and his mother, Marie.

What changes occurred and how were these changes significant for the family?

“Since John had significant speech issues when he first joined the program, I could not understand anything he said. But before the end of the program, he made a lot of progress and Marie was surprised to see her son talking better, naming and identifying things seen in books. So, Marie realized that the program was great motivation for her son's developmental growth!"

What inspires you about this family that you'd like to share with others?

“Marie was so appreciative and impressed with the results of the program that she referred two other families. She was also grateful to have been able to participate throughout the pandemic. There were no other programs providing virtual services that she was able to access for her son during this time and he was not enrolled in daycare throughout most of their time in the program. So, ParentChild+ was the only educational opportunity that remained a constant in John's life over the past year. It was also inspiring to hear John talk clearly and to expand his vocabulary and make himself understood by others."

ParentChild+ is led by the Literacy Coalition and funded by the Children's Services Council of Palm Beach County.​