Parents as Teachers

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Based on the principle that a parent is their child’s first teacher, Hillside’s Parents as Teachers (PAT) program helps parents give their children the best possible start in life. Through a nationally recognized and evidence-based model, this early childhood parent education and family support program has been proven to increase school readiness and success for children of participating parents.

Hillside’s program is the only Rochester-area PAT affiliate to have earned Blue Ribbon status from the national Parents as Teachers organization.

About this Program

Hillside’s Parents as Teachers program uses personal visits, group connections, developmental screenings and linkages to community resources to support parent participants in becoming more aware of early child-development information that can help them raise healthy and happy children through earliest pivotal developmental stages—from pregnancy through the completion of Kindergarten. Through the program, parents and their children engage in activities that encourage language development, intellectual growth, social development and motor skills while fortifying healthy attachments and relationships. The program is designed to partner with families for a period of at least three years.

Program Supports for Parents

  • Monthly Personal Visits are usually conducted in the home. A participating family receives eight foundational visits, with additional visits as needed. The goal of these visits is to increase parents’ awareness of early childhood development, which helps them improve their parenting practices. Elements of each visit include:
    • Parent / child interaction – Interactions between parents and their children take place throughout the visit. A parent-child activity is shared to focus interactions, prompt parent engagement, and encourage child development. Parent Educators facilitate observation and discussion of child development and positive parenting behaviors throughout the parent-child interaction.
    • Development-centered parenting – Seven topics related to child development inform parenting decisions are introduced, focused on, and revisited over time during personal visits. The Parent Educator works to understand the parents’ perspectives, including their current knowledge, experience and family values surrounding the topic. Parent Educators share information about how child development is related to child behavior and incorporate reflective practices to prompt parents’ recognition of the impact of their interaction and parenting decisions on their child’s development and well-being.
    • Family well-being – PAT supports the development of healthy physical and emotional environments by strengthening a family’s protective factors. This involves understanding each family’s needs and wishes; helping parents use their own resources to build social connections; and assisting them in recognizing and resolving the barriers that might prevent them from accessing those resources.
  • Group Connections offer meaningful opportunities for families to meet and develop supportive networks. They serve to break the isolation of families visited and are built into the family development goals. They are offered at various times and locations to allow wider access to families. They address the needs of expectant participants and parents of newborns. Other evidence-based parenting curricula, such as Conscious Discipline or Love and Logic, are also available as needed during a family’s participation in PAT.
  • Screenings are provided to help ensure early detection of any potential health or early-learning issues or developmental delays. The ASQ (Ages and Stages Questionnaire) is used at the earliest point of the child’s life at 2 months old, and social/emotional well-being is measured starting at 4 months. These early screenings work together to ensure children’s school readiness and social/emotional well-being. A complete screening (ASQ, ASQ-SE and Child Health Record) is offered at least each once during each year of participation in the program.
  • Resource Networking and connection to available community resources appropriate to the family’s needs is part of our attention to family wellness. Our partnership enables us to keep abreast of continuing and newly emerging services for families. The family’s personal parent educator ensures a family’s connection to needed resources and grows over time the family’s ability to access resources independently as a means of reducing the experience of crisis that may revisit the family life.

Program Benefits for Parents
The overall goals of PAT are to help parents achieve healthy births, secure attachments, increased family well-being and higher levels of school readiness. By partnering closely with PAT-certified Parent Educators, participating parents can increase their levels of parental engagement; take on an approach to parenting that fosters healthy child’s development; commit to their own ongoing growth and behavior changes; and improve their ability to discover connections to their child’s behavior and their family’s well-being.

PAT for Caregivers
A specific PAT curriculum been developed for child-care providers who care for young children in their home. Child development information given to the provider is further distributed to the parents of the children in the provider’s care. Certificates of professional development in the areas required for renewing licensure are offered for each hour of learning. Professional development goals are set and met in a critical aspect of ongoing professional development.


PAT is open to male and female parents. Families are eligible during pregnancy, or if they have a child who has not yet entered kindergarten. The program is offered to eligible parents living in the City of Rochester.


Rochester Office
1 Mustard Street
Rochester, NY 14609

Contact Information

Interested parents can learn more about Hillside’s Parents as Teachers program by calling 585-654-7500.

For details about this or any Hillside program, contact us 24 hours a day at 585-256-7500 or info@hillside.com

This Program Supported by the United Way of Greater Rochester and the Greater Rochester Health Foundation. Funding for Hillside’s PAT curriculum serving home-based child-care providers is provided by the Rochester Area Community Foundation and Rochester’s Child.

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