The Parent-Child Home Program is truly a magical experience for all the children who are fortunate to participate in the organization’s services. The organization's staff are exceptional and the home visitors are extremely dedicated and caring. I have been amazed to see the transformation in young children who are involved in the services and additionally the impact to their families. As a mother of three young children, I think the program is critical to early education and undoubtedly can change the future of a child.
Some years ago a friend recommended that I learn about Parent Child Home Program and told me the founder had written a book about the research that went into creating the model: "Messages from Home," (2nd ed. 2008).
I read it and was impressed with the careful development of this straightforward program in which a "home visitor" visits a parent and child twice weekly for 26 weeks for two years. The child is about 2 at the start.
To each half-hour visit, the visitor brings a book or a toy and reads and plays with the child, inviting the parent to participate as much or as little as she or he wants. Some parents just watch for several weeks; others jump right in. The bottom line is that the child AND the parent start to understand that learning is fun. The child grows; the parent grows. Some parents are introduced for the first time to basic communication and interpersonal skills by the visiting experience.
So I went to a conference several years ago, followed the program, read some more, spoke with people involved. And I was hooked. How could I, a solid middle-class baby boomer, not love a program that does so much for little kids who have nothing to start with--and for so little money?!
The payoff to "society" is very great down the line as well. Kids who had no chance to succeed graduate from high school at the same rate as their socioeconomically advantaged counterparts.
This probably sounds strange, but with Parent Child Home Program (PCHP), I think of the scene in the movie The Miracle Worker, where Annie Sullivan pours water on Helen Keller's little hand, and Helen remembers vaguely a word she knew before she totally lost her hearing and sight. "Wah-wah," she says. "Water." Real learning. And after that nothing stopped Helen Keller from growing. She called Annie Sullivan "Teacher." And PCHP reminds parents that they are their children's first teachers.