In the early 1960s, Dr. Phyllis Levenstein (1918-2005), a clinical psychologist, was asked to develop a program for families that would reduce the growing number of high school dropouts. After extensive research, she concluded that the most effective intervention would be to reach out to children before they entered school. In fact, she determined that dropout prevention must begin with parents and in the home environment. Armed with this information, Dr. Levenstein developed the model for The Parent-Child Home Program (originally called The Mother-Child Home Program).
She focused on parents as the key to promoting school readiness and academic success; her model aimed to strengthen parent-child verbal interaction and reading and play activities in the home, and in so doing, build language and literacy-rich home environments and provide children with the language, early literacy, and social-emotional skills they needed to enter school ready to be successful students. The model she developed is used by the Program today and has proven to be both durable and flexible, and to significantly improve high school graduation rates!
The National Center, which serves as the Program’s headquarters, was established when the Program was incorporated in 1979, and has helped the Program expand exponentially. National Center staff work with local partner agencies to reach at-risk toddlers and their families in urban, suburban, and rural communities, and then carefully monitor the quality of the Program as it expands in these communities. The Program continues to expand and demonstrate its effectiveness.Chart