In the early 1960s, Dr. Phyllis Levenstein (August 23, 1916 – May 28, 2005), a clinical psychologist studying at Columbia University, 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 even 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).
Dr. Levenstein identified parents and the home environment as the key to promoting school readiness and academic success. She focused on strengthening parent-child verbal interaction, supporting reading and play activities in the home, building language and literacy-rich home environments, and providing children with the language, early literacy, and social-emotional skills they need to enter school ready to be successful students. As she was developing the Program, Dr. Levenstein tested many variables including the number of visits, duration of the visits, giving curricular materials versus lending materials, number of program years, etc. and identified the most effective approach – the same proven model is used by all local PCHP replication sites today. Research and evaluation continue to demonstrate that PCHP increases school readiness, decreases the need for special education, and significantly improves high school graduation rates! Click here to see our proven outcomes.
The National Center was established in 1979 to assist underserved communities in replicating and expanding PCHP’s proven school readiness model that builds early parent-child verbal interaction and learning at home. National Center staff work with the nationwide network of program sites to reach under-resourced 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. Using this approach, PCHP has reached over 70,000 families since it began replicating. Now, more than 7,000 families are served annually.