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First Steps Washtenaw

First Steps Washtenaw is an early childhood parent education and family support program serving families throughout pregnancy until their child enters kindergarten, usually age 5. The program is designed to enhance child development and school achievement through parent education accessible to all families and includes the following components in an 8-week session:

  • 60 minute playgroups led by Parent Educator
  • Ongoing special events and parent group meetings
  • Developmental screening focused on normal child development
  • Community resource network

Recognizing that all families can benefit from support, First Steps families come in all configurations, from all socio-economic levels, and from rural, urban and suburban communities. The program is adaptable to fit community needs. It is a local program and family participation is voluntary. Washtenaw First Steps works with parents to provide them with parenting support and information on their developing child.

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Program Goals

  • Empower parents to give their children the best possible start in life.
  • Provide children a solid foundation for school and life success.
  • Increase parent knowledge of child development and appropriate ways to stimulate their children's intellectual, language, social, and physical development.
  • Increase parent feelings of competence and confidence.
  • Enhance parent-child interaction and strengthen family relationships.
  • Prevent child abuse and neglect.
  • Provide for early detection of developmental problems.
  • Develop strong partnerships between parents and schools.

Core Values

  • The early years of a child's life are critical for optimal development and provide the foundation for success in school and in life.
  • Parents are their children's first and most influential teachers.
  • Established and emerging research should be the foundation of parent education and family support curricula, training, materials and services.
  • All young children and their families deserve the same opportunities to succeed, regardless of any demographic, geographic or economic considerations.