Parents As Teachers

An Evidence-Based Practice


Parents As Teachers (PAT) provides high-quality parent education to develop and strengthen the skills parents need to enhance the development of their children from birth to age three. The program provides families with intensive, targeted education and support from the third trimester of pregnancy through the child's third year, with continued limited service and support through age five.

The PAT program is founded on the research of Dr. Burton White, of the Harvard Preschool Project, which focused on improving the quality of the educational system for children during the earliest years of life. Predicated on White's findings, PAT programming provides age-appropriate information on child development and works to improve and increase parenting skills. The program guides parents in promoting and fostering their children's intellectual and social development. PAT services are divided into two basic components: parent education, which includes a minimum of four home visits and four group sessions per program year, and periodic developmental screening for the child's behavioral and health status and growth.

Goal / Mission

The mission of this program is to provide the information, support and encouragement parents need to help their children develop optimally during the crucial early years of life.

Results / Accomplishments

Independent evaluations of the PAT program found the following:

- Children at age 3 were significantly more advanced in language, social development, problem solving, and other cognitive abilities than comparison children. Parents in the program became more involved in their children's schooling.
- PAT children performed above national norms on the measures used in the original pilot study sample. Children with developmental delays overcame them by age 3. Parent knowledge of child development and parenting practices significantly increased for all types of families. There were only two documented cases of abuse and neglect among the 400 Binghamton, N.Y., families over a 3-year period. Similar gains were evidenced among the California families.
- PAT children had significantly higher cognitive, language, social, and motor skills than nonparticipants. PAT participants had substantially reduced welfare dependence and half the number of child abuse and neglect cases.

About this Promising Practice

Primary Contact
Attn: Public Information Specialist
Parents as Teachers National Center
2228 Ball Drive
St. Louis, MO 63146
(314) 432-4330
Education / Childcare & Early Childhood Education
Social Environment / Children's Social Environment
Parents as Teachers National Center, Inc.
The Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention's Model Programs Guide (MPG)
Date of publication
For more details
Target Audience

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