“Children who complete The Parent-Child Home Program are not only entering school ready to learn, they are truly “soaring to success!” They are reading above grade level, they are enjoying school, and their parents are not only celebrating their children’s successes but are also accessing educational opportunities of their own.” -Sarah E. Walzer, J.D. Executive Director National Parent-Child Home Program
Millions of children across the country begin kindergarten unprepared. In their earliest experiences with language development in the toddler years, these children have not received adequate exposure to books and quality verbal interaction. Without this foundation, they enter school lacking 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. Without the skills they need to successfully adjust to the classroom, they begin their academic careers a critical step behind their peers. Many of these children may 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 prepare their children to enter school ready to learn.
The Approach: Modeling vs. Teaching
The Parent-Child Home Program utilizes a non-directive approach by modeling behaviors for parents that enhance children’s development. Literacy Specialists 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 Literacy Specialists is non-intimidating and empowers parents, supporting them to become their child’s first and most important teachers and take pride in their commitment to, and impact on, their child’s education.
How Does the Program Work:
Families participate in the program over the course of two years when their child is 2 and 3-years-old. A child can, however, enter the Program as young as 16 months old. The program is offered to families in Newton, Needham, Waltham and Wellesley, MA. A trained Literacy Specialist visits each family twice a week for half-an-hour on a schedule that is convenient for the parents. Spanish speaking Literacy Specialists are available. On the first visit of each week, the Literacy Specialist brings a carefully selected book or educational toy as a gift to the family. In the twice-weekly home sessions with the parent (or other primary caregiver) and the child, the Literacy Specialist shows parents activities using the toys and books to cultivate language and early literacy skills and promote school readiness. All materials and services are provided free to families. 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. Special events, including trips, play groups and workshops, happen throughout the year to bring the families together to share their experiences and accomplishments.