Being Better Teachers, Parents, and Citizens

“We all want the best for our kids. I was a stay-at-home mom of four and did what I could to prepare them for kindergarten, and now I direct these programs. I just wish I had known about this stuff when they were born!”

Heather Lowman, READY! for Kindergarten Director

Parents want to be the best parents they can. And when children start ahead, they stay ahead. Today, we want to tell you more about Born To Read, one of our early childhood learning programs. 

Each year, we make choices on which teacher grants and strategic programs we’ll fund. We base those decisions on many factors, an important one being to ensure we are efficient with our investments. Is the program helping many or a few? What is the impact? Early childhood learning programs are a priority because not only do they help many, but they prevent significant issues later by helping get the right start early. When we solve problems upstream, we make an impact at a younger age and avert more significant issues later.

PAFE funds four programs that link together to make a stronger chain that supports and encourages parents to be involved from the beginning.

  1. Born to Read (formerly Books for Babies) encourages parents to read to their babies while also educating them on READY! For Kindergarten
  2. READY! For Kindergarten workshops. Parents are their children’s first teachers. This teaches them to creatively play with their kids with provided tools and instructions. Workshops are free to attend, thanks to PAFE’s donors.  
  3. As of 2020, we now offer tuition assistance for all-day Kindergarten, because personal resources should not be a barrier to giving your child an early start. 
  4. Learning with Lucky motivates first-graders to read because they get to adopt cute little stuffed puppies to read to. It is so fun, you should read this story

“So, from zero to age seven, PAFE is highly involved in the education process,” said Heather Lowman, “How cool is that?”

Born to Read is a local take on American Library Association (ALA)’s Books for Babies program. Due to COVID, ALA was unable to ship the items needed. Undaunted, our own Heather Lowman relaunched the program with a personal and local flair. 

Through Born to Read, any Bonner General Hospital or Pend Oreille Midwifery newborn is sent home with a PAFE tote back chock full of goodies for their parents. Brightly colored books that make noises and hang from a car seat, a onesie designed and printed by Ms. Norton’s CTE print shop business at Sandpoint High School, (another program funded by PAFE!), bookmarks, and magnets from our local library along with an application for a library card, and of course, information for the next step, READY! For Kindergarten workshops.  

Many parents think “Oh, I can wait until my child’s four or five before I read to him,” said Heather “and we want them to know there are so many benefits to starting right away. It enhances bonding, training and just encourages the joy of reading.”

We want to give our youth the advantage they need to succeed tomorrow. 

Eric Donenfeld, owner of Northwest Autobody is a past READY! For Kindergarten participant who loved the program so much he became a donor. “You’ll be surprised at the things (our kids) can pick up. It teaches us to be better teachers, parents, and better citizens.” 

For more information, on each of these programs, visit: