All children will learn, grow and develop to realize their full potential.
Parents as Teachers promotes the optimal early development, learning and health of children by supporting and engaging their parents and caregivers.
- The early years of a child's life are critical for optimal development and provide the foundation for success in school and in life.
- Parents are their children's first and most influential teachers.
- Established and emerging research should be the foundation of parent education and family support curricula, training, materials and services.
- All young children and their families deserve the same opportunities to succeed, regardless of any demographic, geographic or economic considerations.
- An understanding and appreciation of the history and traditions of diverse cultures is essential in serving families.
The Parents as Teachers Approach is to partner, facilitate and reflect. We do this at
every level of our organization, from a parent educator visiting a family in their home all
the way to the work of the national center.
In 1981, Missouri pioneered the concept of helping parents embrace their important role as their child’s first and best teacher. Today, Parents as Teachers continues to equip early childhood organizations and professionals with information and tools that are relevant—and widely applicable—to today’s parents, families and children.
The Parents as Teachers leadership team and Board of Directors is engaged in a three-year strategic plan, which positions the organization as a valued partner to support the organizations and professionals who serve families and children, especially those most vulnerable.
The concept for Parents as Teachers was developed in the 1970s when Missouri educators noted that children were beginning kindergarten with varying levels of school readiness. Research showed that greater parent involvement is a critical link in the child's development of learning skills, including reading and writing.
Early childhood professionals suggested that a program to provide early detection of developmental delays and health issues, and parent education to help parents understand their role in encouraging their child's development from the beginning could help improve school readiness and parent involvement.
With funding from the Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education and The Danforth Foundation, Parents as Teachers began in 1981 in Missouri as a pilot project for first-time parents of newborns. Recognizing the program's benefits and cost effectiveness, the Missouri legislature provided state funding in 1985 to implement Parents as Teachers programs in all Missouri school districts. Since 1985, Parents as Teachers has expanded to all 50 states and six other countries.
Grounded in the latest research, Parents as Teachers develops curricula that support a parent’s role in promoting school readiness and healthy development of children. Our approach is intimate and relationship-based. We embrace learning experiences that are relevant and customized for the individual needs of each family and child. As a result, individuals and organizations who use our curricula benefit from our understanding of the evolving needs of today’s families and children.