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Parents As Teachers (PAT) | Full Guide For You

Parents As Teachers

Parents are undoubtedly the best teachers and this article is about Parents As Teachers (PAT) of life and focuses on the importance of good grounding for the growing child. Parents are a child’s first teachers and also help shape a child’s future.

The morals and values ​​you instill in your child will serve as guidelines throughout their growing years and into adulthood.

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Parenting as a life teacher is one of the really important aspects of parenting, and by laying the groundwork for it, you’ll be doing your child the greatest favor possible. This means that your child’s education does not begin in kindergarten, but in the pre-school years at your home.

The most important learning period for the child is before they start school, and parents must teach by leading by example in word and deed. Below are some ideas on how you can help develop the different skills a child needs to face the world.

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The early years of a child’s life are the formative years in which the child learns easily and very quickly; You can help your child develop excellent reading and writing skills by reading to them and talking to them out loud.

Ask children questions and let them identify objects; this will help them develop their speaking skills. Read aloud from picture books, pointing out and identifying objects to teach the child.

Parents As Teachers
Parents As Teachers

You can develop the child’s social skills by being positive and showing warmth in your behavior both inside your home and outside with other people. Take the time to study your child’s individual personality – every child is unique. Build on what you observe and change your parenting style by always showing the child lots of love and support.

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Make an effort to involve your child in group activities and playdates. Talk to your child all the time when they are with you, engaging a child in conversation by asking them about their observations and thoughts engages their little mind and develops interactive skills. Your support as a parent is very important in developing healthy social behavior.

Benefits of Parents As Teachers

  • This program is evidence-based and proven to work.
  • Children who feel safe, healthy, and cared for can thrive.
  • We will identify potential development challenges at an early stage.
  • We connect you to a variety of community resources.
  • Fun activities deepen the bond with your child.

Parents Are The Teachers From Day One

Parents as Teachers is an evidence-based parent education and support program designed to empower parents as their child’s first teachers. PAT uses a home visitation model and works with families from pregnancy through their child’s entry into preschool.

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PAT aims to improve parenting practices by expanding parents’ knowledge of early childhood development. Through home visits and ongoing assessments, parent educators can identify developmental delays and health problems early, help prevent child abuse and neglect, and increase children’s school readiness and academic success.

Components Critical For Success

The PAT model consists of four dynamic components that together form a cohesive package of benefits for families with young children:

  • Personal Visits: Certified parenting educators share age-appropriate child development information with parents and caregivers to engage the family in activities that foster meaningful interactions between parents and children.
  • Group Meetings: Sharing important information about child development, giving parents an opportunity to interact and support each other.
  • Health and Developmental Screenings: Early detection of developmental delays or health problems in a child’s life.
  • Resource Network: connects families with resources to help them achieve their goals and address their unique needs.

Currently, PAT reaches 2,868 children and their families through 27 locations in 38 counties.

Parent Possible works closely with the Parents as Teachers National Center, which oversees the replication of PAT nationally and internationally. For more information on PAT worldwide, visit

What Is The PAT Model’s Approach To Providing Home Visiting Services?

Home visits are made based on family needs. Families with one or less needy characteristics receive a minimum of 12 visits per year. Those with two or more traits receive at least 24 visits each year.

The programs are designed to provide services for a minimum of 2 years. Families can enroll through preschool at any age, but PAT encourages families to use prenatal services.

PAT serves all families with young children. Some local programs have special admission requirements.

Who Implements The Model?

House Visitors

PAT was implemented by 4,528 home visitors in 2020. Most home visitors (73 percent) have a bachelor’s degree or higher. The model requires a high school diploma or GED plus 2 years of experience working with young children and/or home visiting parents. Home visitors typically maintain a caseload of 15 to 22 families, depending on the needs of the families.

Role Of Parents
Model Of PAT


Parents As Teachers was implemented by 752 full-time equivalent caregivers in 2020. The model recommends a bachelor’s or master’s degree and 5 years of experience working with young children and families for caregivers.

Where Is The Model Implemented?

Parents As Teachers served 932 local agencies in 48 states and the District of Columbia in 2020. PAT also had operations outside of the United States and its territories in Canada, Germany, Switzerland and the United Kingdom in 2020.

Implementing Parents As Teachers

Theoretical Approach

The theory of change for the parents as teachers model states that influencing parental knowledge, attitudes, behavior, and family well-being affects the child’s developmental trajectory.

The general parent-as-teacher model is based on Urie Bronfenbrenner’s theory of human ecology and family systems theory. The home visits focus on three main areas: parent-child interaction, developmental parenting and family well-being. Parent teachers are informed through additional theories, including developmental education, attribution theory, and self-efficacy theory.

Implementation Support

The National Center for Parent Teachers provides counseling, training, technical support, professional development opportunities and a high-quality recognition process for parent teachers. The National Center “Parents as Teachers” is also involved at state and federal level.

24 states and two countries have parent teacher offices. Parents as Teachers Federal and state offices provide advice, technical and implementation support to affiliates. In addition, these offices oversee the parents as affiliated teachers in their state or country.

Intended Population

The parent-teacher model serves families with special needs. Parents as affiliated teachers select the specific characteristics and eligibility criteria of the audience they wish to serve.

Such eligibility criteria may include children with special needs, families at risk for child abuse, low-income families, teenage parents, first-time parents, immigrant families, families with poor literacy skills, parents with mental health problems or substance abuse problems, or families with problems that are homeless or unstable living conditions.

The parent-as-teacher model is designed to serve families throughout pregnancy through entry into kindergarten. Families can enroll at any point along this continuum. Curriculum materials provide resources to continue services throughout the kindergarten year if a member chooses to do so.

Model Intensity and Length

The parent-as-teacher model requires affiliates to provide at least 12 home visits per year to families with one or no high-needs attribute. Partners must provide at least 24 home visits per year to families with two or more high need characteristics. Home visits last at least 60 minutes.

The parent-as-teacher model requires affiliates to offer families at least 12 group connections (or meetings) annually.

In addition, each year the partners must screen children for developmental, health, hearing and vision problems.

Role Of Parents
Role Of Parents

Parents as teachers’ partners must plan to provide services to enrolled families for at least two years. Partners may choose to focus their services primarily on pregnant women and families with children from birth to 3 years of age; others may provide services from pregnancy to kindergarten.

In some cases, attendance can be gradually reduced as the family withdraws from the parent-teacher program due to changing needs. For families transitioning from parents to teachers, parent educators develop a transition plan to discuss the resources, supports, and services available to the family.

Adaptations and Enhancements

Parents as Teachers allows affiliates to offer additional strategies (beyond the four core components of the model) or make Parents as Teachers model adjustments that may be needed to best meet the needs of families at the local level.

For example, the implementation can be modified to be culturally appealing, targeted to specific populations, or offered in conjunction with other early childhood programs, depending on the needs of the community.

Adaptations of the parent-as-teacher model are available for highly rural and/or Indigenous populations such as Aboriginal people in Australia and Canada and many Native American tribes.

Examples of Adaptation are:

  • Approaches that honor family and community values
  • People involved in the visits
  • Addressing the needs of parents with low literacy skills

Examples of Customizable Model Elements:

  • Elements of training
  • Materials used during visits to encourage parent-child interactions (eg, using materials at home to make toys and games)
  • Pace of parenting
  • Extent to which verbal and non-verbal communication strategies are used

Frequently Asked Question (FAQs) On Parents As Teachers

Who can participate in Parents as Teachers?

Any family in Hillsborough County with a child of preschool age or younger can enroll in Parents as Teachers. This also includes expectant families. Mothers and fathers are equally welcome and encouraged to participate in home visits and group connections.
Once enrolled, you can remain enrolled as long as at least one child in your household meets the age requirements.

How you can enroll in PAT?

For more information and to register, call (813) 673-4646 ext. 1145 or email

Are there any cost of Parents As Teachers service?

No, the Parents as Teachers services are absolutely free of cost.

Who funds Parents as Teachers?

Parents as Teachers is generously funded by the Children’s Board of Hillsborough County and United Way Suncoast, as well as select private foundations, individuals and local businesses. Current and past donors include the Florida Blue Foundation and the PNC Bank Foundation.

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