By Sue Stepleton
Parents as Teachers developed its evidence-based home visiting model more than 25 years ago by incorporating the best science on child development available at the time. Over the years, the premise of its four-component model has remained solid and the core values upon which Parents as Teachers was built remain unchanged:
- The early years are critical for later school and life success,
- Parents are their children’s first and most influential teachers,
- 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 diverse cultures is essential in serving families.
Well-designed independent research studies over the years have consistently confirmed the effectiveness of Parents as Teachers in improving children’s development across multiple domains, increasing their school readiness and improving parent knowledge of early childhood development and parenting practices, identifying delays and health issues, and preventing child abuse and neglect.
Throughout its history, Parents as Teachers has valued the integration of new experiential and scholarly learning into its materials as they are regularly revised. The latest revision of the core Parents as Teachers curriculum will be released in January 2011. In addition to updated information, it will provide parent educators with specific competencies for work with all families, especially those who are in particular categories of vulnerability. It will also transfer most curriculum and training materials to an online format rather than traditional hard copy.
Hand in hand with this revision and move to digital format is a significant refinement in the Parents as Teachers quality assurance process. Going forward, those known as “Parents as Teachers Affiliates,” with permission to use the brand and profess their “evidence-base,” must annually demonstrate that their compliance with the Parents as Teachers Quality Assurance Guidelines.
With these developments Parents as Teachers reaffirms its belief in constant study and improvement for the benefit of children and parents being served.