The First, and Most Important, Classroom is the Kitchen Table
Learning Tools Parents are children’s first and most influential teachers. Before and beyond the classroom, parents influence their child just as much as, if not more than, their experiences in school.
Parents as Teachers was founded on this premise nearly 35 years ago and on the core principle of providing strengths-based parenting education to support child and family success. The organization serves families in 50 states, 113 Tribal organizations and six other countries, partnering with 193,000 families and 227,000 young children through nearly 1.8 million home visits. The evidence-based home visiting model positively impacts more young children and their parents each year than any other home visiting program in the United States.
Home visiting program
The program matches parents and caregivers with trained parent educators during the child’s earliest years. Parents receive hands-on support and learning tools during these critical first years on a variety of topics to help raise healthy, school ready, successful children.
The model includes four components: personal visits, group connections, screenings and connections to resources. Through these components, parents and parent educators partner on parent-child interaction on topics like sleep, discipline, and nutrition and reflect on what parents are doing well and discuss possible solutions for challenges while facilitating ways to encourage child development.
The routines established during home visits create an environment in which families can explore the best options for their child. It is this relationship that empowers parents to take responsibility for their own and their child’s growth and learning. Multiple research studies have demonstrated the positive impact of early childhood development and educational support through home visiting programs such as Parents as Teachers.
Advocating for students
Few investments have the rate of return of early childhood programs.
Parents as Teachers also advocates for children and families by shaping public policy to increase access and financial support for early learning, child development, and education at the federal, state and community levels. Currently, Congress is considering the reauthorization of a critical funding source for home visiting, the Maternal Infant Early Child Home Visiting (MIECHV) program. Originally approved in 2010, it supports some of our most vulnerable families with home visiting in every state.
Few investments have the rate of return of early childhood programs. Investing in children, starting at pregnancy or at birth, produces significant long-term impacts for individuals and communities and increases parent knowledge of early childhood development and improved parenting practices. Parents who participate in home visiting programs demonstrate growth in knowledge of child development and more positive parenting behaviors. They are also more likely to read with their child in the home, take an active role in their child’s schooling and homework, enroll them in preschool, attend parent teacher conferences and school events, volunteer in the classroom and interact with their child’s teacher.
“Parenting is hard work. Parents as Teachers home visiting has provided many families with the critical resources and support that allow them to be successful parents,” said Constance Gully, President and CEO of Parents as Teachers. “When we support parents, they are better able to raise healthy children that are prepared to learn and we empower parents to build strong and thriving families and communities with children who are set up for success in school and in life.”