Parents as Teachers
Parents as Teachers (PAT) is an early childhood family support and parent education home-visiting model. Families may enroll in Parents as Teachers beginning with pregnancy and may remain in the program until the child enters kindergarten. Based on theories of human ecology, empowerment, self-efficacy, and developmental parenting, Parents as Teachers involves the training and certification of parent educators who work with families using a comprehensive research-based and evidence-informed curriculum. Parent educators work with parents to strengthen protective factors and ensure that young children are healthy, safe, and ready to learn. The goals of the model are to increase parent knowledge of early childhood development, improve parenting practices, provide early detection of developmental delays and health issues, prevent child abuse and neglect, and increase children's school readiness and school success. Different curriculum materials are used for those working with families of children up to age 3 and those working with families of children from age 3 to kindergarten.
Home visitation is the key component of the Parents as Teachers model, with personal visits of approximately 60 minutes delivered weekly, every 2 weeks, or monthly, depending on family needs. Parent educators share research-based information and use evidence-based practices by partnering, facilitating, and reflecting with families. Parent educators use the Parents as Teachers curriculum in culturally sensitive ways to deliver services that emphasize parent-child interaction, development-centered parenting, and family well-being. Parent- child interaction focuses on promoting positive parenting behaviors and child development through parent-child activities. Development- centered parenting focuses on the link between child development and parenting and on key developmental topics (i.e., attachment, discipline, health, nutrition, safety, sleep, transitions/routines, and healthy births). Family well-being includes a focus on family strengths, capabilities, skills, and the building of protective factors.
A second component of the Parents as Teachers model is monthly or more frequent group connections, which parents can attend with their child to obtain information and social support and share experiences with their peers. Group connection formats include family activities, presentations, community events, parent cafes, and ongoing groups. Annual health, hearing, vision, and developmental screenings, beginning within 90 days of enrollment, are a third component of the model. Additionally, Parents as Teachers affiliates establish ongoing relationships with institutions and community organizations that serve families. Parent educators help families identify needs, set goals, connect with appropriate resources, and overcome barriers to accessing services.