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  1. Parents as Teachers

Parents as Teachers

Program Goals/Target Population
Parents as Teachers is an early childhood, parent education, and family support program serving families from pregnancy until their children enter kindergarten. The program targets families from all socioeconomic backgrounds and from rural, urban, and suburban communities. It is not intended as an intervention for parents or families experiencing serious dysfunction.

The program is designed to improve child outcomes by working with the parents to increase parents’ knowledge of effective parenting practices and child development and to encourage parents to access community resources that support their activities as parents and the development of their children. Through increased knowledge of effective parenting practices and community support, parents are expected to experience positive attitudes toward their children and interact more effectively with them.

Though it is provided to parents, the ultimate intention of Parents as Teachers instruction is to improve child development. By improving the parenting skills of the parents, children are expected to experience enhanced wellness and development.

Program Components
Parents as Teachers offers four components:

  • Parenting/child development information provided through home visits, telephone calls, group meetings, and so forth
  • Parent support groups
  • Child screenings/assessments
  • Referral to services as appropriate

Certified parent educators conduct home visits, using a curriculum with the latest neuroscience research findings to offer practical ideas on ways to enhance parenting knowledge. The program is designed to be delivered over 17 visits, each lasting 60 to 90 minutes. The educators provide age-appropriate information as the child develops. The educators also work with parents to increase the parents’ skills as observers of their child.

Parents also meet in groups to discuss topics such as positive discipline, sleep, sibling rivalry, and toilet learning and to promote parent–child interaction through activities such as story reading and play.

During the home visits, the parent educators conduct periodic vision, hearing, and general developmental screenings. They also will refer parents to resources provided by their own agencies or others in the community.

Intervention ID
282
Ages

0 to 3

Rating
No Effects
Outcomes

Although researchers detected a statistically significant positive impact on a small number of outcomes, the preponderance of evidence suggests that the Parents as Teachers (PAT) program had no effect on improving child or parent outcomes.

Study 1

Child Outcomes
Cognitive Development
Wagner, Cameto, and Gerlach–Downie (1996) found no differences on the cognitive development scale between the Parents as Teachers (PAT) and control groups at the children’s 2-year birthdays, though there was a slight positive difference for the PAT group for teens who received the expected level of intervention during the children’s second year.

Communication Development
There were no differences on the communication development scale between the PAT and control groups at the children’s 2-year birthdays, although there was a slight positive difference for the PAT group participants who received the expected level of intervention during the children’s second year.

Self-Help Development
There were no differences on the self-help scale between the PAT and control groups at the children’s 2-year birthdays.

Social Development
Compared with control group children, PAT group participants had significantly higher social development scores (p<.05).

Physical Development
There were no differences on the physical development scale between the PAT and control groups at the children’s 2-year birthdays, though there was a slight positive difference for the PAT group participants who received the expected level of intervention during the children’s second year.

Parent Outcomes
Knowledge of Child Development

Compared with control group mothers, mothers in the PAT group demonstrated significantly greater knowledge of child development as measured on the Knowledge of Infant Development Inventory at the children's 2-year birthdays (p<.05).

Attitudes Toward Parenting
There were no differences between the PAT and control groups on their attitude toward parenting as measured by the Parents' Sense of Competence Scale.

Parenting Behavior
There were no differences between the PAT and control groups on parenting behavior as measured by the Home Observation for Measurement of the Environment (HOME) scale. No effects were noted for the incidence of child abuse.

Study 2

Child Outcomes

Cognitive Development

Wagner and colleagues (1999) found no differences on the cognitive development scale between the PAT and control groups at the child’s 3-year assessment.

Communication Development
There were no significant differences on the communication development scale between the PAT and control groups on the two tests of communication development at the children’s 3-year assessments.

Self-Help Development
Compared with the control group, the PAT group scored significantly higher on mean month differentials on the self-help scale (p<.05), with the effect stronger for children of Latina mothers.

Social Development
There were no differences between the PAT and control groups on the social development scale at the children’s 3-year assessments, though there was a significant effect for children of Latina mothers (p<.01).

Physical Development
There were no differences on the physical development scale between the PAT and control groups at the children’s 3-year assessments.

Parent Outcomes
Parenting Behavior

There were no differences between the PAT and control groups on parenting behavior as measured by the total Home Observation for Measurement of the Environment scale at the children’s 3-year assessments.

Acceptance of Behavior Subscale
The PAT group scored significantly lower than the control group on the Acceptance of Behavior Subscale (p<.01) at the children’s 3-year assessments.

Appropriate Play Materials Subscale
There were no differences between the PAT and control groups on the Appropriate Play Materials Subscale at the children’s 3-year assessments.

Parental Involvement Subscale
There were no differences between the PAT and control groups on the Parental Involvement Subscale at the children’s 3-year assessments.

Opportunity for Stimulation Subscale
There were no differences between the PAT and control groups on the Opportunity for Stimulation Subscale at the children’s 3-year assessments.

Study 3

Child Outcomes
Child Development
Wagner and colleagues (2001) found there were no significant differences between the participant and control groups on any of the developmental domains measured by the Developmental Profile II.

Adaptive Social Behavior
At the 2-year assessment, the Adaptive Social Behavior Inventory scores showed a small, positive effect on the PAT group (effect size = 0.21). However, this effect was not statistically significant.

Parent Outcomes
Parent–Child Interaction
There was a small positive effect (effect size = 0.22) for the PAT group on the HOME Parent-Child Interaction Subscale score. However, this effect was not statistically significant.

As measured by the overall Nursing Child Assessment Satellite Training scale there were no differences between the treatment and control groups on parent-child interaction. A small positive effect for the parent scale was noted (effect size = 0.19), with the largest effect for parents relating to responses to children’s distress (effect size = 0.23). However, no meaningful effect was noted for the child scale or subscales.

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