Parent-Child Home Program: No Loss of Instructional Time
It’s summertime and Wesley and his daughter Heaven work on a puzzle together. This single dad asks his three-year old lots of questions, stimulating interaction and conversation with her, something he learned after participating in United Way of King County’s Parent-Child Home Program.
When many young learners take a break from books and educational toys during the school break, they experience summer learning loss. But not Heaven. She’ll continue developing her cognitive skills. That’s because Parent-Child Home Program models educational play for parents of two and three year olds. That modeling, done by a culturally-relevant home visitor, teaches parents how to stimulate their child’s learning all year long.
Veronica Williams, a home visitor with Parent-Child Home Program, says the child is not the only one learning during the bi-weekly home visits.
“I model for the parents on what to do. It’s a guideline and not a must-do, but just a guideline. After a while, a lot of parents take the lead, hand the child a book or a toy. The child will take it and the parent then takes charge and I think to myself, ‘That’s exactly what we want to happen.’”
Wesley says that when Veronica modeled educational play for him, a light bulb went off; the home visits were more than mere child’s play.
“It opened up a lot of learning for both of us, not just for her but for me, especially on how I need to teach her and the things I need to develop with her. She’s coloring, tracing, all of the things that we worked on. She’s phenomenal in puzzles, puzzles and shapes. It was a big help for me because now I know what areas to really work on with her.”
The odds are often stacked against low-income children like Heaven. Three out of four low-income children in Washington are behind their peers when they start kindergarten. The Parent-Child Home Program zeroes in on the preparation gap by supporting parents during the crucial early years of their child’s development. Nationwide, more than 84 % of kids who complete the Parent-Child Home program graduate from high school, compared to just 54% of their socioeconomic peers.
Even though Heaven is a new graduate of the program, her learning will continue all summer long. Wesley credits Parent-Child Home Program for setting them both up for success.
“The program taught me things that I need to teach my child.”
Helping Heaven succeed is no longer a dream for Wesley. United Way of King County’s support of Parent-Child Home Program has equipped him and hundreds of other parents who have participated in the program, with the tools they need to make that happen.