Birth to age five is a critical time in a child’s life. Their experiences as a young child often dictate the type of adults they become. Both educators and economists realize the importance of promoting healthy social and emotional development of children under age five.
Child development research shows that how young children feel is as important as how they think, particularly with regard to school readiness. Research also shows that emotional development occurs on a parallel path to early literacy development.
Parents are the most important influence in their child’s life from birth to age five. However, many parents are raising their children to the best of their ability with little or no support. For these parents, finding information, such as how babies eat, sleep, play, learn and grow, at the exact time it is needed can be extremely challenging.
To address this need, NurturePA, Inc. has developed a program that combines technology with volunteer mentors to help parents access information and parenting support.
Parents use their mobile phones to interact with mentors and ask questions or receive information, as it is needed. Mentors can easily send and receive text messages from a computer or tablet to help put parents in touch with the relevant information they need.
Engaging parents through mobile phones helps them quickly address immediate needs, and offers them ease of access in a manner that typically appeals to this generation of young parents.
To enroll moms in the program, a NurturePA, Inc. manager meets with them during their admission to a birthing hospital. The manager briefly explains the program, and enrolls interested moms in the program. The manager then assigns the enrolled moms to a specific volunteer mentor.
The NurturePA, Inc. team is currently working with moms who deliver at UMPC Mercy Hospital, Jefferson Hospital and West Penn Hospital.