Birth to age three 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.
We strive to promote infant mental health (i.e., social emotional development) and early literacy during a child’s life from birth to age three. This is a critical time in brain development that affects emotional well-being and intellectual abilities.
Parents are the most important influence in their child’s development. However, many parents are raising their children to the best of their ability with little or no support. Others would benefit from connecting with someone who knows how hard it can be to be a mom. For all parents, finding information, such as how babies eat, sleep, play, learn and grow, at the exact time it is needed can be challenging.
To address this need, the Nurture® Program combines technology with volunteer mentors to create meaningful relationships with parents that help them 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 texting helps them quickly address immediate needs, and offers them ease of access in a manner that typically appeals to this generation of young parents.
The Nurture® Program enrolls moms with our partner hospitals including Jefferson, UPMC Magee-Womens, Washington and West Penn. To reach more moms, we are now also enrolling moms online
At NurturePA, we embrace our responsibility to create a culture that is welcoming to everyone. We believe that inclusion and diversity are imperative for many reasons, but most importantly for the moms in our program and those who mentor them. The vast majority of our enrolled moms state that they have a positive, trusting relationship with their mentor. Along with supporting moms, the Nurture® Program focuses heavily on building trust and reciprocity in the relationships between moms and mentors. Also, when we enroll parents in the Nurture® Program, all moms are welcome…there are no screening criteria.
The Nurture® Program does screen parents for signs of possible postpartum mood and anxiety disorders (PMAD) which affect an estimated 15% of parents. It is critical that we continue to educate and bring awareness to the subject of postpartum depression and the daily struggles of motherhood, specifically the increased risk those in underserved communities face. Addressing the factors involved will lead to better health outcomes for both mothers and their children.
NurturePA stands firm against racism and inequality. Discrimination in any form is not tolerated within The Nurture® Program.