A randomized controlled trial published in Early Childhood Research Quarterly examines the effectiveness of the Parents as Teachers (PAT) program in Zurich, Switzerland.
PAT is a parent teaching program that begins during pregnancy, or shortly after birth, and continues until the child’s third birthday. Among its goals, PAT aims to increase parental knowledge of early childhood development and improve parental practice and, in the long term, increase the child’s school readiness and success.
A total of 261 children from 248 families took part in the trial. Families in the intervention group (n=132) were supported with regular home visits from qualified parent educators with a degree in early education, and attended group meetings. The 116 families in the control group had access to the normal community services but were not supported by PAT. The results showed that:
- After three years of the PAT program, children showed more age-appropriate adaptive behavior, with small effect sizes in both self-help skills (ES = +0.26) and developmental milestones (ES= +0.26).
- There were also positive effects on children’s language skills – particularly expressive language skills (ES = +0 .39).
- PAT was also found to positively affect children’s problem behavior (ES =+0.30).
By contrast, however, no meaningful increases were observed in children’s health, cognitive development, or motor development.
Source: Schaub, S., Ramseier, E., Neuhauser, A., Burkhardt, S. C., & Lanfranchi, A. (2019). Effects of home-based early intervention on child outcomes: A randomized controlled trial of Parents as Teachers in Switzerland. Early Childhood Research Quarterly, 48, 173-185.