Books and babies filled the media center at South Atlanta High School, as seven new and expecting moms gathered for the Mom-to-Mom Brunch on May 16.
Sponsored by an APS Office of Early Learning school transition mini grant, the free early literacy program was designed specifically for teen mothers and recent alumni moms under the age of 21. Monica Smith, Pre-K enrollment administrator, discussed the important of early literacy and distributed resource materials and books to each mom or mom-to-be in attendance.
“I think it is important to let children know that they’re not alone, that there are other people dealing with the same challenges,” said Chatelah Brown, school social worker. “It is not that we are glorifying teen pregnancy, but now that the babies are here, we need to offer the moms the support to be the best moms they can be and to support them while they are in school, arming them with the tools to help them prepare their children to be successful in life. If they’re children aren’t OK, how can we expect them to be OK in school?”
School media specialist Shanna Miles held a storytelling workshop, where she not only lead a read-aloud session but also offered tips to engage early learners. Moms also asked questions.
“If we’re going to make big changes in reading for our students, then you have to teach the parents,” said Miles, who coordinated the event. “Because of the environment that we’re in, that window between student to becoming a parent is very, very short. If we want to see the elementary students do better and have those kids on grade level, then we have to make sure their parents do well. The biggest challenge has been parent engagement, but it really isn’t if we already have the parents here now. I have a captive audience of parents now that I can engage with either right before they become parents or right as they become parents. Programs like this always new parents to engage with the school system, ask questions and know the basics before their children enter in the school system.”
Each mom in attendance left with a gift bag full of diverse books to start their home libraries.