Parents As Teachers (PAT) is a FREE early childhood family education program to assist and support families in preparing their children for success in school and beyond.

As a parent, you are your child’s first and most important teacher!

Your child learns more during the early years than at any other time in life.  How your child grows and learns during these years – beginning at birth – will impact later development and success in school.

When enrolled in Smithville Parents As Teachers, families with children birth to kindergarten will receive FREE:

  • Home visits with a certified parent educator

  • Yearly developmental and health screenings

  • Parent-Child Activities

Thrive By Five Play and Storytime

Parents As Teachers hosts a Thrive By Five Play and Storytime in the Parents As Teachers Office.  This open-play space is for all children birth up to kindergarten entry.  PAT staff will offer a variety of learning opportunities such as block play, imaginative play, sensory play, fine motor activities, and literacy activities.  Parents will have the opportunity to interact with their children, observe their children’s interactions with other children and meet and develop relationships with other families in the school district. Each activity ends with a brief storytime.

What are the components of the Parents As Teachers Program?

Personal Home Visits A certified Parent Educator will come to your home by appointment for personal visits. Personal visits are designed to individualize the program for you and your child. During these visits we will focus on child development and parent-child interaction.

Developmental Screenings Yearly developmental screenings will examine your child’s cognitive, language, motor and social development skills as well as health, hearing and vision.

Group Connections Periodic Group Connections are events that are designed to help you gain new insights into your child’s development and behavior, to get to know other parents in our community, and to have fun with your child. Information about upcoming Group Connection events is sent out via email.

Resource Network Our staff can share information about community programs, agencies and resources that your family may need.

Why Should I participate in Parents As Teachers? Babies are born to learn. In their earliest years, children learn more and at a much faster pace than at any other time in their lives. From the beginning, all parents are teachers. Parents need to know how to make the most of these crucial early-learning years.

Scientific evidence confirms the importance of early learning. Research on brain development shows that beginning at birth the brain uses stimulation from the environment to make itself work. Unless adequately stimulated at the right time, the brain will not get properly "wired" to do certain jobs. If "windows of opportunity" are missed, this "wiring" may happen later with great difficulty or may never happen at all.

Family education programs can make a difference. Early childhood family education programs are an excellent way to assist and support families in preparing their children for school and life success. Parents As Teachers’ goal is to empower all parents to be their children's first and most influential teachers.


Mary Kay Grusenmeyer 
Coordinator/Parent Educator
816-532-0406, ext. 7346

Shellie Crim 
Parent Educator

Allyson Cunningham
Parent Educator

Madison Duncan
Parent Educator

Kelley Huff
Parent Educator

Kathy Mattke
Parent Educator

Danielle Wilson
Parent Educator