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At-Risk Children Show Improvement in Key Areas of Early Development

International study demonstrates effectiveness of Parents as Teachers home visiting model

A new international study, recently published findings in the Early Childhood Research Quarterly, a peer-reviewed academic journal, revealed that children ages 0-3, in high risk families, benefitted greatly from Parents as Teachers evidence-based home visiting model, which helped improve their cognition, self-control, language skills and overall behavior.

Click here for a summary of the study.


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Allison Kemner, vice president of research and quality at Parents as Teachers National Center, said, “The new findings have real-world implications for struggling families because they show that the Parents as Teachers home visiting model is having a significant impact on children’s mental health in families at risk of poor outcomes.

“A child’s early language and cognition and the development of self-regulation are directly associated with later school performance and success,” Kemner said, adding, “Children in our programs wake up less during the night to bottle feed, sleep longer through the night, have better vocabulary and self-control, and they score higher on language and cognition tests.”

Researchers at the University Of Applied Sciences Of Special Needs Education in Zurich, Switzerland, conducted the Zurich Equity Prevention Project with Parents Participation and Integration (ZEPPELIN) study and found that:

Children in Parents as Teachers:

  • Demonstrated better adaptive behavior (lower rates of bottle feeding at night at 12, 24, and 36 months; and higher rates of sleeping at night during the same growth period).

  • Showed higher levels of self-control at 36 months.

  • Scored significantly higher on cognition and language development.

  • Demonstrated a higher vocabulary at 24 and 36 months.

Mothers in Parents as Teachers:

  • Showed increased parenting skills and displayed more sensitivity to their children.

  • Increased social integration and accessed libraries and community centers more often.

“Parents as Teachers is especially well-suited for providing effective and long-lasting developmental support to children in families experiencing social burdens,” said Dr. Andrea Lanfranchi, the psychologist who conducted the study.

ZEPPELIN is one of the largest longitudinal intervention studies of evidence-based home visiting in Europe with a randomized-controlled trial study design. Families participating in the study included those who had many stressful experiences that inhibit optimal health and family stability, including, babies who were born premature and children with moms with low educational attainment. Most families in the study were socially disadvantaged immigrant families. Researchers intend to continue this study to follow the children through kindergarten to look at long-term sustainable outcomes.

To learn more about research studies that show that Parents as Teachers improves school readiness, reduces child maltreatment, improves parenting skills and parent involvement and leads to improved children mental health and family well-being, click here.

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