Easy As 1, 2, 3: A parent’s perspective on what makes Porter-Leath special

Myrika Williford takes her volunteer role on Porter-Leath’s Preschool Parent Council seriously. As a representative for Renaissance Early Head Start on the council, Myrika provides feedback from parents to Renaissance’s site manager and works collaboratively with members of the council and Porter-Leath staff to make decisions that effect the Preschool Program.

She is also on a mission to educate parents on why it is important to volunteer in their child’s classroom and to recruit new famiies to enroll in Porter-Leath.

“I encourage parents to look into Porter-Leath because they have a lot to offer. I tell parents, it is not a daycare, it is a school. We do it the Porter-Leath way, meaning that the kids don’t play all day, they learn!” she said. She even created a video of the classroom, so that parents could see their child’s routine. “Parents see their child engaging in the class and are excited to say ‘That’s my child!” she explained.

Myrika’s children are her personal proof that high-quality early childhood education works. She has two children in Early Head Start at Porter-Leath Renaissance - Rayn (Age 1) and Trinity (Age 2), and one student, Autumn (Age 3) in Head Start at Porter-Leath’s Early Childhood Academy.

“My oldest daughter, Autumn, sat down with me one day and asked to read a book,” Myrika described “but before reading the book she stops me and says ‘Mom, look at the cover of the book. The author is the person who writes the book and the illustrator is the person who draws the pictures.’ I couldn’t believe that was coming out of her mouth.”

During her next time to volunteer in the classroom, she recognized Autumn was modeling behavior from her teacher’s process of reading with the class.

Myrika articulated that the consistant high quality of teachers and administration at the different sites a Porter-Leath have given her confidence that her children are cared for and that they will be prepared for kindergarten. She has even noticed that Autumn and Trinity have become more independent and will teach Rayn things that they learned at school.

Amazed, she explained, “If I teach Autumn something new she becomes so excited she will turn to Trinity and will say ‘okay now, we need to focus’ and I can tell she wants to help her sisters grow.”

Additionally, Myrika praised Porter-Leath for assigning family service workers to help parents set and reach goals. “My family service worker is awesome,” Myrika exclaimed “she provides counsel and checks on me mentally, physically, emotionally to make sure I can give my best to my girls.”

Myrika’s key piece of advice to parents regarding preschool: “Do not hold your child back. You will be amazed at what your child can do once you give them an opportunity to go to school. And I would say Porter-Leath, of course!”