Parent-Child interaction Is Critical to Closing the Gaps
Over the past decade, innovations in imaging used in neurobiology have validated the conceptual underpinning of the PCHP model (developed in 1965), the importance of parent-child verbal interaction (Bruner, 1964 and 1966; Vygotsky 1962; Hart & Risley 1995). The evidence highlights that the quality of experiences and relationships in the first three years of life has a deep and lasting impact on how the brain develops. The richer the environment, the greater the number of brain cell interconnections that are made. The larger the number of interconnections, the faster and more meaningful learning will be. Interactions or relationships shape children’s brains. The more loving and responsive the caregiver is, the greater the foundation for later social interaction.
The evidence-based PCHP model provides two years of intensive, twice-weekly home visiting to underserved families with children between the ages of 16 months – four years who are challenged by poverty, isolation, limited educational opportunities, language and literacy barriers, and other obstacles to healthy development and educational success. Through the visits, PCHP Early Learning Specialists educate parents on the importance of parent-child interaction and give them the tools (books and educational toys), skills, and encouragement to engage their children. For over 50 years, PCHP has been bridging the achievement gap for low-income children by strengthening the parent-child relationship and, ultimately, increasing the language, literacy, and cognitive skills, and the social-emotional development critical to school success.