Messages from Home: The Parent-Child Home Program for Overcoming Educational Disadvantage

Messages from Home: The Parent-Child Home Program for Overcoming Educational Disadvantage

Messages from Home: The Parent-Child Home Program for Overcoming Educational Disadvantage

Messages from Home: The Parent-Child Home Program for Overcoming Educational Disadvantage

Synopsis

Combining lively writing and scientific rigor, this expanded and updated edition of Messages from Home describes the methods and continued success of The Parent-Child Home Program. Spearheaded by the late Phyllis Levenstein, this pre-preschool home visiting program prepares at-risk children to succeed in school, overcoming educational disadvantage.

Excerpt

Humanity's most ancient dialogue—the verbal exchange between parent and young child—is at the core of The Parent–Child Home Program.

The Parent–Child Home Program is a low-cost pre-preschool intervention, developed between 1965 and 1982 using $3 million of federal and private funding, to help low-income parents prevent their toddlers' future school problems. It first reached into the homes of families in a poverty pocket on Long Island, New York, and it has been implemented widely elsewhere since. By now, four decades of experimental research have examined the results of The Parent–Child Home Program and tested its hypothesis that children's best preparation for school is their early participation in cheerful, casual exchanges of concept-building conversation with their parents at home.

Talking to infants comes naturally to all parents and all parent substitutes. For most of them, talking to baby becomes conversation. The dialogue is often focused around the toys and books that middle-income parents can afford. The Program theorized that this verbal interaction gradually fosters a parent–child network that is both intellectually and emotionally supportive for the child, whatever the family's ethnolinguistic style.

Social and emotional bonding between parent and child is the matrix for this supportive network. Important as the parent–child bond is for the child's emotional development, it can evolve with scarcely a word being said. But exchange of language taking place within the context of that . . .

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