For nearly 30 years Missouri has been a national leader in preparing children for lifelong learning, engaging their parents as their first teachers. Parents as Teachers has been a tremendous success story in Missouri, so much so that every single state and seven other nations are now following Missouri’s example.
The new Parents as Teachers
Just as families have evolved over time, so has Parents as Teachers. Today’s Parents as Teachers is about more than child development; it takes into account the whole family and the multiple services they need to be stable and successful, which all have a direct impact on children’s school readiness. We focus on child development with a keen eye on health, nutrition and developmental delays. We engage families in their children’s development and education, and work to transition the entire family to kindergarten.
Parents as Teachers has been nationally designated as an “evidence-based” best practice by the U.S. Health Resources and Services Administration and the Administration for Children and Families. They both see home visiting as one of several strategies embedded in a quality early childhood system that promotes maternal, infant and early childhood health, safety and development and strong parent-child relationship –all critical factors as children enter the formal education system.
Parents as Teachers important for school readiness?
This article in the July/August 2012 Harvard Education Letter addresses the serious challenges schools face grappling with a growing population of poor children. This is where Parents as Teachers can bring results for schools, especially as Missouri focuses its funding for Parents as Teachers on families with the highest needs.
Parents as Teachers promote kindergarten readiness?
Parents as Teachers brings services to parents in their homes by trained parent educators who help parents understand their child’s developmental stages and the opportunities each stage offers for learning. For example:
- Together with their parents, children develop routines. They learn to deal with feelings and share emotions. They recognize and adapt to transitions, which is necessary for smooth and successful kindergarten learning.
- This sense of predictability makes children feel more secure and increases their willingness to try new things at school.
- Children start kindergarten already screened for delays, many of which have already been addressed, reducing or eliminating the need for further remediation and accelerating learning.
- Because of all this, children score higher on kindergarten readiness tests and standardized measures of reading, math and language in elementary grades.
readiness is for parents and
As teachers, you know that parent involvement often tapers off as children get older. But research shows that being involved makes a huge difference to a child’s school success. Parents as Teachers also fosters the development of parents, helping them to be successful partners in their children’s education. By kindergarten, for families who have participated in Parents as Teachers:
- Parents are already engaged. They participate in their children’s learning. They support it at home. They volunteer.
- They engage more in language and literacy activities, and promote reading in the home.
you support the foundation laid by Parents as Teachers?
When you encourage support for Parents as Teachers with your school board and school’s administration, you build on the foundation we’ve established to support you. When you speak out in the community and encourage participation in and funding for Parents as Teachers locally, you increase the number of children who can receive this support. Many of your students have younger siblings; let their parents know about Parents as Teachers and encourage them to sign up. Share success stories with us!
Giving children the foundation to learn when they enter kindergarten is the work of parents, schools, and the community. Parents as Teachers is your partner in that work and continues to be a serious partner to Missouri schools.