We all want a school district that has the ability to create a supportive environment of lifelong learning. Across the country, mental health associations, the United Way, family resource centers, departments of social services and departments of corrections have chosen Parents as Teachers to meet their communities’ needs. The concept continues to be a model where there is a partnership among parents, schools and the community.
The most effective early childhood intervention employs a two-generation approach, combining child-focused educational activities (preschool) with parent education and parent-child relationship-building (Parents as Teachers).
Indeed, a study of more than 7,000 Missouri kindergartners revealed that Parents as Teachers, especially when combined with preschool, narrows the achievement gap, particularly for children in poverty. According to the researchers, participation in Parents as Teachers predicts children’s school readiness and third grade achievement, regardless of income level.
Parents as Teachers lays the foundation, but doesn’t work in isolation.
As part of a seamless system of services, what we start is reinforced with preschool and other early childhood programs, and further strengthened in kindergarten as parents experience trust in the school system, become more informed about their neighborhood schools, and are satisfied with their school choice.
Creating a well-integrated early childhood education system that supports parent engagement, healthy child development and school readiness offers several advantages to school districts in terms of outcomes and impacts.
- Parents as Teachers parents are more involved in their children’s schooling.
- They are more likely to regard their school district as responsive to their children’s needs, more apt to initiate contacts with teachers, and take an active role in their child’s schooling.
- They are more apt to attend parent conferences.
- They actively support their children’s learning in the home, attend special events at their schools, work as volunteers in the classroom, participate in PTA/PTO meetings, and help with home activities related to school work.