May 23, 2007 (PRLEAP.COM) Education News
ST. LOUIS (May 23, 2007) – What began in the 1970s as a Missouri-based early childhood education program has not only spread to all 50 states, but has also received national acknowledgment in published studies and white papers. Most recently, the long-term results, significant growth and the cost-effectiveness of Parents as Teachers National Center and Parents as Teachers programs have been noted by the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University, The Brookings Institution, the National Women’s Law Center, American Journal of Health Behavior and the National Center for Family Literacy.

Parents as Teachers National Center has been highlighted for its oversight and emphasis on quality assurance by a case study written by the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University. Starting Small, Reaching High: Parents as Teachers National Center’s Quest for Growth with Quality recognizes the National Center’s continued efforts to strengthen its relationships with partner organizations at the state level and develop a stronger political voice for early education issues. According to the study, the National Center “has hired additional staff, including a public policy manager who traveled frequently to Washington, D.C., in order to give PAT a stronger voice on early education issues, such as the fight to keep federal funding of Head Start and Even Start programs in tact; the effort to implement universal pre-kindergarten; and passage of Education Begins at Home Act, which would grant federal money to states to invest in home visiting programs like PAT.”

“The National Center is the backbone that allows our strong network of state leaders and partners to effectively implement programs that promote child development, increase school readiness and ensure quality in how services are delivered to families,” said Susan Stepleton, president and CEO of St. Louis-based Parents as Teachers National Center. “The Kennedy School case study elevates the National Center’s role as a professional development and training center, in addition to hailing our administrative responsibilities in relationship to ensuring programs across the country are adhering to specific standards.”

A February 2007 piece released by The Brookings Institution, Cost-Effective Investments in Children, covers national budgeting priorities with one important focus: additional resources for children. The study points to the value of the Parents as Teachers program and its emphasis on school readiness. One in a series of five, The Brookings Institution paper states that Parents as Teachers has demonstrated effectiveness “in early childhood interventions.”

The National Women’s Law Center white paper titled State Strategies to Strengthen and Support Family, Friend and Neighbor Care applauds Parents as Teachers on its efforts to establish home visiting programs for family, friend and neighbor (FFN) childcare providers, as well as parents. Although Parents as Teachers “primarily focuses on parents, it has a curriculum for FFN providers, too. The curriculum was developed with the recognition that many FFN providers could benefit from home visits in many of the same ways as parents, yet that it was necessary to have materials designed specifically for the providers.”

In addition to position papers, Parents as Teachers’ efforts are being recognized in peer review journals. “High 5 Low Fat,” a program developed by Parents as Teachers and Saint Louis University School of Public Health, has been highlighted in Awareness and Adoption of a Nationally Disseminated Dietary Curriculum by the American Journal of Health Behavior. The program was crafted “in response to a call for innovative programs to address the diet-related cancer disparities among African-Americans.” Parents as Teachers filled the role of a national dissemination vehicle for intervention strategies involving necessary dietary changes within families. The program helps encourage parents to improve their child’s diet by “making individual dietary assessments and setting goals, developing label reading skills, buying healthy foods without spending a lot of money, choosing the healthiest selections when eating fast food and modifying family favorite recipes to be healthier.”

Finally, the Family and Child Education for American Indians (FACE), a program within the Bureau of Indian Education using the Parents as Teachers model, has helped to level the playing field for American Indian children before enrolling in school. The National Center for Family Literacy published its findings earlier this year in Early Identification Impacts Future Savings Through FACE. The newsletter highlights the program’s effectiveness in identifying special needs early, as well as reducing the need for special education services once children enter school. According to the study, “approximately 25 percent of children presently in kindergarten though third grade who previously participated in FACE were identified for early childhood special education services prior to kindergarten entry. This is compared with 13 percent of children who had not participated in FACE.”

“In 2005 Parents as Teachers began conducting a program results study,” said Karen Guskin, director of research and evaluation for Parents as Teachers National Center. “Although it will take several years to complete, we’re thrilled to be recognized within case studies of other organizations.”

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About Parents as Teachers National Center
Based in St. Louis, Parents as Teachers National Center is the resource base and backbone of Parents as Teachers, a parent education and early childhood development program serving parents throughout pregnancy until their child enters kindergarten, usually age 5. The nonprofit National Center oversees approximately 3,000 programs offering Parents as Teachers services nationwide as well as in several other countries. For more information about Parents as Teachers, visit

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