Parents as Teachers
Parents as Teachers helps organizations and professionals work with parents during the critical early years of their children’s lives, from conception to kindergarten—and the results are powerful.
Thank you for your interest in the Parents as Teachers program. Please bookmark and check our page periodically for updated information about the PAT program to find helpful resources.
What is Parents as Teachers?
Parents as Teachers is one of the largest evidenced-based home visiting models in the country. Its vision is that all children will learn, grow and develop to reach their full potential, and that parents are their earliest and best teachers. Although Parents As Teachers was developed and still is a universal program for all families, today many of the parents who are recruited and participate in the program are single parents or very young parents or families confronted with challenges that range from job loss and poverty to illness and disability. Its approach to working with families is based on the following philosophy:
- Parents are their children’s first and most influential teachers.
- The early years of a child’s life are critical for optimal development and provide the foundation for success in school and life.
- Established and emerging research should be the foundation of parent education and family support curricula, training, materials, and services.
- All young children and their families deserve the same opportunities to succeed, regardless of any demographic, geographic, or economic considerations.
- An understanding and appreciation of the history and traditions of diverse cultures is essential in serving families.
Parents As Teachers is relationship-based and parenting-focused. It is brought to parents in their homes by trained parent educators whose goal is to help them build on their strengths as they interact with their children. Parents then become teachers through this interaction, playing with, and enjoying their children, and their children stand a better chance of beginning school fully ready to learn and succeed.
The Parents As Teachers model includes the following components: personal visits, group connections, child and family screening/assessment, and resource network.
Personal visits are individualized and strength-based where parent educators focus on child development and parent-child interaction. They are an integral part of the model and directly promote parental resilience, knowledge of parenting and child development, and social and emotional competence of children. They focus on parent-child interaction, development-centered parenting, and family well-being. The group connections are an opportunity for parents to share experiences, discuss problems, learn from other parents, support one another, observe their child with other children, and practice parenting skills. Screenings are used to help parents understand their child’s development, recognize strengths in their child and family, and identify areas of concern that might suggest the need for follow-up services. And lastly, the resource network is a network of community resources that parents can access as needed. Because families often are not aware of services available in their community, the parent educator provides them with information, bridging the gap between resources available and families’ needs.
Parents As Teachers has Quality Assurance Guidelines and Essential Requirements that provide clear expectations and guidance for high quality replication of their evidence-based model. Another important characteristic of their replication component is the collection of implementation and service delivery data and use of this data for continuous quality improvement.
Parents As Teachers in Region A
The Region A Partnership for Children currently contracts with family resource centers, a public school, a child advocacy center and a Head Start Center to provide Parents As Teachers in their respective communities.
- Research has clearly shown that the early years are critical in a child's development and lay the foundation for success in school and in life.
- Parents are the most Influential people in their children's lives; they are their child's first teachers
- To Invest in our future, we need to give parents the education and support they need to promote their young children's healthy development and prepare them for success in school and life
Parents As Teachers is:
- a parent education and family support program serving families throughout pregnancy until their child enters kindergarten
- designed to enhance child development and school achievement through parent education
- a universal access program available to all families
- free; family participation is voluntary
- Brain development that takes place before age 1 is rapid and extensive;
- the influence of the early environment on brain development is long lasting
- There are developmental "windows of opportunities when children are especially adept at learning specific skills including:
- motor skills such as turning over, crawling, walking, drawing;
- sensory skills such as seeing and hearing;
- communication skills including language; and
- social skills such as playing with other children
- Unless adequately stimulated at the right time, the brain will not get properly "wired"—if developmental "windows of opportunity' are missed, this “wiring" may happen later on only with great difficulty, or it may never happen at all
- After the developmental "windows of opportunity" close, progress can still take place, but it is much more difficult
- Parent education helps parents to understand what to expect during each stage of development and how to promote the best development in their child
- Research shows that parental involvement in their child's learning is linked to the development of the child's academic skills, including reading and writing
What Does Parents As Teachers Have To Do With School Readiness?
- At age 3, PAT children are more advanced in language, social development, problem solving and ether cognitive abilities
- PAT children score higher on kindergarten readiness tests
- Children who participate in PAT score higher on standardized measures of reading, math and language in first through fourth grades
- Parents who participate in Parents as Teachers are more confident about their parenting and are more involved in their children's schooling...a key component of a child's success in school
*See Parents as Teachers Evaluation Brochure at http://www.parentsasteachers.org/results
- PAT parents get involved early, and evaluations have shown that they are more involved in their children’s schooling
- Getting parents involved in their child’s education from the beginning has been shown to impact the parents’ level of involvement once the child enters school
- NCLB empowers parents to get involved in their child’s education—PAT engages parents in their child’s development and education from the earliest years and increases parental involvement once their child enters school
- NCLB requires stronger accountability for results—PAT has proven effective in increasing a child’s school readiness and later school success
- NCLB requires using scientific-based research for results—PAT curricula are based on reliable and current research in the area of child development and neuroscience
- PAT programs screen for developmental, health, hearing, and vision problems
- Detected at an early stage, many can be corrected before the child reaches school age
- Early resolution means fewer children are placed in special education or remedial classes or retained in grade
- To learn more about our program, we invite you to:
- Go on a personal visit
- Observe a child screening
- To invest in our future, we need to give parents the education and support they need to promote their young children’s healthy development and prepare them for success in school and life. Support funding for Parents as Teachers programs in our community!
Parents as Teachers Providers, please access your resources page at: PAT Providers