The Program Model
Evidence-based Replication Model = Quality Assurance
The importance of Parent-Child interaction
All children’s first years should be filled with verbal stimulation to build language and literacy skills. Each day should be full of discovery and offer opportunities to gain new skills and learn new concepts. Fostering verbal interaction between parents and their young children is a critical component of healthy and successful development (Bruner, 1964 and 1966; Vygotsky 1962). The importance of this interaction has been further validated by the brain and language development research (Hart & Risley). Formative research on The Parent-Child Home Program’s 1965 pilot project (then The Mother-Child Home Program) affirmed that this critical parent-child interaction could be strengthened by modeling reading, play, and conversation for parents and children in their own homes (Levenstein and Sunley 1968). Please see Proven Outcomes for more information.
School readiness: Bridging the preparation gap
Across the country, millions of children begin kindergarten unprepared. They are “left behind” as early as the first day of school. These children have not adequately experienced quality verbal interaction or books. They have not been exposed to play and interactive experiences that encourage problem-solving and appropriate social-emotional development. They do not have the language skills they need to successfully interact with their teachers and their classmates. They may not be able to control their behaviors or emotions as well as other students. They may have heard more discouragements than encouragements. Without the skills they need to successfully adjust to the classroom, they begin their academic careers behind their peers. Many of these children will never catch up.
The Parent-Child Home Program bridges this “preparation gap” by helping families challenged by poverty, limited education, language and literacy barriers, and other obstacles to school success prepare their children to enter school ready to be in the classroom.
The approach: Modeling vs. teaching
The Parent-Child Home Program utilizes a non-directive, non-didactic approach, modeling behaviors for parents that enhance children’s development rather than teaching behaviors. Home Visitors help parents realize their role as their children’s first and most important teacher, generating enthusiasm for learning and verbal interaction through the use of engaging books and stimulating toys. Parents are never given homework or assignments to complete but are encouraged to continue quality play and reading between visits with the books and toys they receive each week. The “light touch” employed by Parent-Child Home Program Home Visitors is non-intimidating and empowers parents, allowing them to prepare their children for school success, and take pride in their commitment to, and impact on, their child’s education. Every Parent-Child Home Program local site adheres to a carefully developed and well-tested model to ensure high quality services and consistent results:
- Each site is run by a Site Coordinator hired by the local partner agency and trained by The Parent-Child Home Program’s National Center.
- The Site Coordinators are then prepared to recruit and train their local Home Visitors.
- Training in multicultural awareness and the ethics of home visiting are important components of the Parent-Child Home Program’s training curriculum for Site Coordinators and Home Visitors. Respect and understanding are critical for successful home visiting relationships.
- Families participate in the two-year program when their children are two- and three-years-old, completing the Program as they turn four and transition into pre-kindergarten or Head Start. A child can, however, enter the Program as young as 16 months and some sites serve families with children up through four-years-old if there are no other pre-school services available in the community.
Home Visit Structure:
- A Home Visitor is matched with the family and visits them for half-an-hour, twice-a-week on a schedule that is convenient for the family.
- On the first visit of each week, the Home Visitor brings a carefully-selected book or educational toy, the curricular material for the week, which is a gift to the family.
- In the twice-weekly home sessions with the parent (or other primary caregiver) and the child, the Home Visitor models verbal interaction, reading, and play activities, demonstrating how to use the books and toys to build language and emergent literacy skills and promote school readiness.
- Over the course of the two years in the Program, families acquire a library of children’s books and a large collection of educational and stimulating toys.
- Each Program Year or Cycle consists of a minimum of 23 weeks of home visits or 46 home visits.
Download The Program Model pdf.