What is Parent Support?

The commitment and care that goes into parenting takes sustained effort. It is rewarding, but it can also be exhausting and stressful. When parents have someone to talk with and share ideas about their parenting journey they feel supported. That’s Parent Support. Parents do best when they feel heard, and the whole family benefits too. Even a small amount of parent support and education can help build resilience in families.

Early Learning Institute provides Parent Support in Groups, and in our One to One parent support program known as PEAS (Parent Education and Support). Both are specially designed for parents with young children receiving developmental services.


Specialized Parent Support for parents with young children in developmental services: Birth through 5 years of age or not yet in Kindergarten.

PEAS is a flexible, short term, one-to-one parent support service for Sonoma County families with young children receiving developmental services. Developmental services may include Early Intervention home visits, therapeutic play-groups, occupational therapy, physical therapy, speech therapy, or special education preschool services, such as Special Day Classes or Non Intensive Speech services. Children are birth through 5 years or not yet in Kindergarten, and live in Sonoma County, CA.

PEAS provides 6 free weekly, one-hour visits in the home, our office or other quiet setting. Parents talk about their experiences parenting a child in need of developmental services, and learn about community resources, family routines, sibling issues etc. Most PEAS parents experience a reduction in stress through sharing their feelings as they take a little time to take care of themselves. PEAS Specialists are skilled early interventionists who are knowledgeable about the developmental service system and easy to talk to.

Available in English or Spanish, PEAS visits do not replace existing services, and are provided at no cost to families.

To learn more about PEAS one to one parent support, see Inside PEAS Visits on this page. To request PEAS services, or to refer a family (with the family’s permission), call Early Learning Institute at (707) 591-0170 or use the Referral Form.
Parent-Icon Online Referral Form    Parent-Icon PDF Referral Form


What kinds of conversations come up on a PEAS visit? Mostly parents want to talk about how things are going as they navigate their busy life of accessing services and caring for their children. It’s no surprise that with children in services, many similar themes arise. For example, parents may reflect on their reactions to first hearing, “Oh, he’s FINE, stop worrying”. Or, “I am getting awfully tired of people in the grocery store asking me rude questions or making me feel like a bad parent.” Sometimes parents share, “I know I am doing a lot for my toddler by getting all these services, but I worry about my 6 year old; he really seems to need my attention.” PEAS Specialists are listening to parent concerns and providing support, information and helpful referrals to community partners. To make a referral to PEAS, see our PEAS Referral Form on this webpage.

Monthly meetings at Early Learning Institute for Early Learning Institute families of children birth to three years of age.

Early Learning Institute’s Developmental Playgroups provide educational, play-based activities for young children and their families, in a safe, nurturing and supportive environment. An added benefit of participating in our playgroups is the opportunity for parents to talk with each other during regularly scheduled monthly facilitated Parent Support Groups. Participation in Parent Support Group is optional, but most parents love having time to meet in our quiet Parent Lounge. During these facilitated meetings, parents discuss such topics as transitioning from Early Start to school based services; finding one’s way managing a child’s health and development; dealing with everyone’s frustration when a child is not talking; and other topics of interest. Parents also share information and ideas about common challenges and successes such as, finding time for oneself; balancing concerns with being hopeful and positive; and talking with family or friends when there are differences of opinions about services and strategies. Of course there is the usual humor shared with others who understand all too well the ups and downs of parenting, especially of parenting a young child in developmental services.

As parents experience the benefits of meeting with others, just a few feet away their children are continuing to enjoy their play activities in their Group room. Parents see their young ones growing in their ability to manage brief separations, knowing that if their child is having a particularly difficult separation, our experienced and compassionate staff will let them know, so they can decide what they would like to do.

Our Parent Support Groups are facilitated by specialists well versed in the developmental service system, and in working with families receiving services. Come ask questions, share ideas, and talk with others who understand. You deserve the support.