A World Where Every Child Succeeds
27 million Americans can’t read a bedtime story to their children. Children from low-income families hear 30 million fewer words by age 3 than their affluent peers. The sad truth is that by the time they’re two, many children are already falling behind, and they struggle to catch up.
The Parent-Child Home Program existed to erase that educational gap.
In the mid-1960s, Dr. Phyllis Levenstein, an educational psychologist, was asked by a family service organization to develop a program that would reduce the growing number of high school dropouts.
The solution she proposed was totally unexpected. And it was pure genius.
Instead of proposing increased interaction with high school age adolescents, she explained that spending more time with children at age two and three could have a more significant impact on high school graduation rates.
A child’s mind is 80% developed by age three. Waiting until they were five to begin instructing them was far too late. And in the case of poor families, it was tantamount to sentencing the child to a lifetime of poverty.
Dr. Levenstein developed the model for the Parent-Child Home Program which at that time was called the Mother-Child Home Program and took a revolutionary new approach: reaching children and their parents at home before they even enter school.
The model was simple --community residents are hired and trained to visit children and parents in their home twice a week. They bring free books and educational toys and show parents how to take an active part in their child’s education and how to use every moment as a teachable moment.
The children they help will enter school performing 10 months above their chronological age, score 2 ½ times higher on social-emotional skills and have a 30% higher high school graduation rate than their peers.
They’ve proven that early; in-home support prepares children and their families for success in school and ultimately in life.
This fantastic program reaches the hardest to reach, most isolated, under-resourced families in urban, suburban, and rural communities.
However, the Parent-Child Home Program had challenges
Potential donors and supporters confuse them with Head Start Pre-K programs and assume there is ample Government support for those programs.
No one really understood what their purpose was. Parent-Child Home Program was just another cute Pre-K program. When, in fact, they were a dynamic Pre-Pre-K anti-poverty program. Their name–Parent-Child Home Program was a mouthful, and people resorted to calling them PCHP and this great program became lost in a sea of acronyms.
We had to come up with a solution worthy of its cause
What we discovered is that they aren’t merely an early childhood education program—as they had been describing themselves, but were in fact agents of social change, battling social inequity.
They aren’t just providing early literacy, they provide early opportunity and a possibility to more than 7,000 families each year. They are early-life coaches and early-parenting coaches, and maybe most importantly, they are on the frontlines in the battle for a more equitable America.
We gave them a simple, powerful new name: ParentChild+.
We gave them an impactful new logo and look. Their new logo now has the words “parent” and “child” bonded together, as they should be. The “+” in the logo symbolizes the staff, teachers, and donors who are adding so much to these children’s lives.
We gave them a new website and a compelling narrative with the new positioning to explain what happens when you nurture children right from the start.
If we are ever going to end inequity and break the cycle of poverty, we have to start somewhere.
Let’s start at the beginning.
Let’s end inequity by starting early in life and let’s do it starting in the home.
Let’s put boots on the ground with children’s books in their hands.
Let’s visit homes in neglected neighborhoods, in homeless shelters, and in distressed rural areas.
Let’s find those who are struggling and help them in their struggles.
Let’s find two-year-olds who are already falling behind and help them and their parents shine.
Let’s provide the economically disadvantaged with the greatest of advantages.
Let’s help them acquire knowledge-based success.
Let’s nurture their natural abilities and turn those into unlimited possibility.
Let’s teach children that the world is theirs for the reading.
Let’s show parents that every moment is a teachable moment, and their actions, words, and intentions matter.
We are Parent Child+.
We knock on doors and are welcomed into homes knowing that what we provide isn’t just early literacy. We are offering early opportunity, We are early-life coaches and early-parenting coaches. And maybe most importantly, we are on the frontlines in the battle for a more equitable America.
Why is what we do so crucial to a better tomorrow?
27 million Americans can’t read a simple bedtime story to their children. Children from low-income families hear 30 million fewer words by age 3 than their affluent peers. One of the words that the children and their parents never hear is “opportunity.” Because, in truth, poverty isn’t merely the lack of money, it’s the utter lack of possibility.
We bring words of wisdom and encouragement, and those things can’t help but transform into opportunity, and that opportunity transforms lives.
We reach the hardest to reach and connect with them in a culturally appropriate way. We interact and communicate with families in 52 different languages. Over 70% of our early-literacy home visitors were born outside the US and usually reside in the same neighborhood as the families they help.
We begin with two-year-olds because by three, a child’s brain is already 80% grown. The phrase “Use it or lose it” is accurate in a neurological sense. And so you understand the urgency of what we do you must know that a child’s destiny begins at birth. A child born today has only 1800 days to prepare for kindergarten. As sad as it sounds, by age two, a low-income child is already falling behind.
We intervene. We interject. We object– to the secondary life path that this child has been put on. We see a different way – a path to possibility. We help the child’s parents see that path and set off upon it.
The children that we help will enter school performing 10 months above their chronological age, score 2 ½ times higher on social-emotional skills and have a 30% higher graduation rate than their peers. We are their step-ladder to success. Their personal booster club. Their highest chance at a better life.
This is what we do. It isn’t as easy as ABC. It’s not all happy stories and picture book endings. It’s hard work. It’s crucial work. What keeps us up at night is the thought of all those families struggling alone. But what gets us up each morning is the inspiring thought that for every child that we level the playing field for --the scales of inequity move inexorably closer.
Join us. The need is great, and our mission is greater. And that mission is to ensure that all of our children have equal possibility from the start.
Impact of the branding program
Our work energized their staff, their board, and their funders. Board members said they now had a powerful new way to explain to friends and potential donors why they are so committed to this organization.
All of us here at Siegelvision are very proud to have helped this wonderful organization in their quest to build a world where every child succeeds.