PAT Mission Statement: 

"Working together with families to ensure that young children are competent, self-assured, and ready for school!"

Parents as Teachers

The Parents as Teachers (PAT) Program is a free service that is offered to families in Berrien County who are pregnant or have children under the age of three.  The first three years of a child's life are ESSENTIAL for laying a strong and positive foundation in all areas of their lives - education, health, behavior, and relationships.  Because those first few years are so important, parents are a child's FIRST and MOST INFLUENTIAL teachers!

PAT offers two types of services: 
Personal Home Visits and Group Connections

Personal Home Visits are an opportunity to receive information that is individualized to your child and family.  A Certified Parent Educator would visit you at your home and bring information and activity ideas specific for your young child's age and development.  The visits usually last about one hour and can occur weekly, bi-weekly, or monthly.  Visits are an opportunity for parents to look closely at their child's development, enhance the ways they promote their child's learning, problem-solve any of the usual parenting concerns that arise, and increase their confidence that they are providing a strong and positive foundation for their child's learning.  If you are interested in hearing more about PAT Personal Home Visits, please either fill out the online referral form or call Kerenda Applebey at 269-471-7725, ext. 1330.

Group Connections are playgroups and events offered throughout the year to provide families opportunities to make connections with other families.  All Group Connections are free and registration is not required.  Listed below are the Group Connections we offer.

Read, Play, & Learn Playgroups 

Playgroups are offered during the school year at 15 different locations throughout Berrien County each month.  You do NOT have to register or sign-up to attend these groups.  You also do NOT have to be enrolled in PAT (receiving Personal Home Visits) to attend.

The playgroups are a chance for parents with young children (infants - age 5) to get together with other parents and young children and have some fun!  Each month we choose a children's book as the theme for the playgroup activities.  At the beginning of the group, the story is read during circie time.  Then parents can play together with their children through a variety of activities.  At the end of the group, every family gets a copy of the book to take home and enjoy over and over again.  Each group also has a parenting education topic and additional information is available on that topic for parents to take home.  Here is this month's schedule, or you can sign up to receive email updates and calendars.

Baby 1-2-3

Baby 1-2-3 is our newest Group Connection. Becoming a new parent can be overwhelming, and it often takes time to adjust to changed roles and unfamiliar experiences.  Baby 1-2-3 will provide parents with:

  • Play ideas for enhancing interactions with their babies
  • Information and support
  • An opportunity to learn about topics important to parents with new babies
  • A chance to meet other parents with similiar experiences and questions

It is a group for parents and their babies (up to 9 months of age, including parents who are expecting a child).  Moms, dads and infants are welcome!  Drop-in to any session that works for you!  No registration is necessary.

The group meets the first and third Wednesday of the month, from 1:00 - 2:30 p.m. at the Lincoln Township Library in Stevensville.

Daycare for older children will not be provided.  This is a special time for you and your baby!


The Read-Around-the-County is an outdoor story hour for preschoolers, their parents, and daycare providers.  Bring a blanket and find a cozy place to sit. and listen to a variety of stories read by community leaders and costumed characters that will move from group to group.  Families are welcome to bring a picnic lunch, a snack and water will be provided.  Each family will receive a free book. 

  • This event will take place in two locations:
  • Niles Riverfront Park (by the amphitheater)
    Tuesday, May 12, 2015    11:30 a.m. - 12:30 p.m.
  • St. Joseph Lake Bluff Park (across from the Maud Preston Palenske Memorial Library) 
    Wednesday, May 13, 2015  11:30 a.m. - 12:30 p.m.

    Printable flyer

Welcome Winter

Come celebrate the season with your young children at the Berrien RESA.  This family fun Holiday Open-House features preschool activities, that include: sensory play, gross motor games, an art project, and the "snow drift".  Children will also enjoy snacks and stories with Santa and Mrs. Claus!  Each family will receive a gift book. 

  •  December 9, 2014   10:00 a.m. - 11:30 a.m. or 1:00 p.m. - 2:30 p.m.
     Berrien RESA  711 St. Joseph Avenue Berrien Springs MI
  • Printable Flyer


Festival of Families

Every year, Parents as Teachers invites everyone to The Berrien RESA's Festival of Families.  This is a family fun event with plenty of activities and resources for everyone.  There will be an area devoted specifically to preschoolers.  This is a great opportunity for your family to learn about the resources available in the region aimed at helping your child succeed. 






Contact Information

Education Coordinator:
Kerenda Applebey
Tel: 269-471-7725, ext. 1330
Fax: 269-473-1113


To subscribe to the PAT Newslink, click here.

PAT Referral Form for Parents
PAT Referral Form for Agencies



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