THE EVIDENCE BASE
Early years research into practice
HOW THE APPROACH WORKS
Based on current research into neuroscience and child development, the programme has four key elements:-
REGULAR PERSONAL VISITS
A trained project worker who partners with the family to discuss their child’s development, facilitating activities which enhance the child’s language, problem solving, social and physical skills, and encouraging parental reflection.
REVIEW OF DEVELOPMENTAL MILESTONES
This helps parents know what to expect and emphasise at each stage of the child’s development, and to detect and seek early intervention if any problems arise.
To put families in touch with other support agencies or services.
These provide opportunities for parents to meet other local parents, to share experiences and to have contact with paediatric specialists with whom they would not otherwise have informal access.
AIMS AND ACHIEVEMENTS OF THE PROGRAMME
Parents as First Teachers aims to:-
Increase children’s school readiness and school success.
Increase parent knowledge of early childhood development and improve parenting practice.
Provide early detection of developmental delays and health issues.
Reduce child abuse and neglect.
AND DOES IT DO IT?
In the USA (where the programme originated and is widely operated) it has been independently evaluated and the results have consistently indicated that the scheme benefits parents, children, schools and the wider community.
Children are significantly more advanced in language, problem solving and social skills and therefore more prepared for the start of school.
Children score more highly in early school tests in maths and literacy.
Children with learning difficulties are identified earlier.
Parents have greater self-esteem and confidence in their relationship with their child.
Parents have a more positive attitude towards their child’s schooling.
There is a reduction in likelihood of child abuse and neglect.
For detailed research evidence visit www.parentsasteachers.org
A European study published in Early Childhood Research Quarterly examined the impact of Parents as Teachers on high-risk families with children ages 0-3. This randomised controlled study showed that children who participated in Parents as Teachers demonstrated higher adaptive behaviour, self-control, child development, language skills, and vocabulary (Schaub, Ramseier, Neuhauser, Burhardt, & Lafranchi, 2019). Mothers who participated in Parents as Teachers showed increased parenting skills and displayed more sensitivity to their children (Neuhauser, Ramseier, Schaub, Burkhardt, & Lanfranchi, 2018). Summarised findings are in the ZEPPELIN infographic.