Parents As Teachers

PAT is a free and voluntary early learning program for parents with children birth to five years of age. The program provides family support including parent education, child development, development screening, playgroups, and service coordination to link families to other available services.

PAT Philosophy

Parents as Teachers, which originated in Missouri in 1981, is based on a philosophy that babies begin learning at birth and that parents are their children's first and most influential teachers. PAT can help you lay a strong foundation for your child's future success in school. PAT is designed to serve all parents-from single, teenage mothers to two-parent families, regardless of income.


As a PAT participant, you'll receive the following services:

  • Personalized home visits by a certified parent educator, specially trained in child development and eager to help you give your child a great start.
  • Group meetings with other parents, where you can share parenting experiences, gain new insights, and talk about topics that interest you, and play with your child.
  • Periodic screening to ensure that your child has no undetected learning, sensory (hearing or visual), or developmental problems.
  • A network of resources that can help you with special services you may want that are beyond the scope of PAT.
  • Referrals to other agencies.

Families may be served through Parents as Teachers for up to five years, or until referred to another program. When age eligible, a referral is made to the Great Start Readiness Program, Head Start, Early Childhood Special Education (ECSE) in public schools, or other tuition preschool or child care programs.

Early Childhood Program Applications

To apply for home-based programs including Parents As Teachers, click a link below.

Online Application-

Early Childhood Program ONLINE Application

Paper Applications-

2018-19 Early Childhood Education Application
2018-19 Early Childhood Education Spanish Application

For more information on Parents as Teachers check out or contact:

Maureen Schmidt
616-738-8940, ext. 4664


Parent Educators:

Chrisje Stam:
Chrisje graduated from Hope College and has been working as a Home Visitor since 1995. She is married with a son and dog.

Chuqui King:
Chuqui King is bilingual and bicultural and has a B.S. in Education.  She has been a State of Michigan licensed social worker for over 30 years having recently retired from the Department of Social Services. 
Spanish or English

Karyn Miller: 
Karyn graduated with a Bachelors Degree in Social Work in 1999 and has worked with families for 18 years teaching child development and parenting skills. She is married with 3 sons and spends her free time attending her children's sporting events and practices.

Elisabeth VandenToorn:
Born in Ontario, Canada, Elisabeth studied Child Development. She is married with three sons and worked for Kent District Libraries for 10 years. Elisabeth enjoys being a home visitor and partnering with families on their parenting journey. 

Rosalba (Rosi) Rodriguez Kupres:
Rosi graduated from Hope College with a Bachelor's degree in Social Work. She is bilingual and has 15 years of home visiting experience working with families involved with CPS, moms who are pregnant, and with infants.
Spanish or English

Liz Culver:
Liz is bilingual and enjoys teaching children the Spanish language. She currently works in a Spanish-immersion preschool with 3-year-olds. She is married with two children and actively involved in the community.
Spanish or English