Georgia Parents as Teachers Network

The purpose of the Georgia Parents as Teachers (PAT) Network  is to link PAT programs across the state and provide them support, communication, and quality improvement.  The Georgia Parents as Teachers Network is the statewide voice for Parents as Teachers programs across the state.

The mission of Parents as Teachers is to provide the information, support and encouragement parents need to help their children develop optimally during the crucial early years of life.  Parents as Teachers is an international parent education and family support program serving families throughout pregnancy until their child enters kindergarten, usually at age 5.  The program is designed to enhance child development and school achievement through parent education accessible to all families. It is a universal access model. 

The major areas of focus for the Georgia PAT Network are:  
   • Advocacy 
   • Training 
   • Quality Assurance 
   • Communications 
   • Funding Resources 
   • Program Support

Parents as Teachers is the overarching program philosophy of providing parents with child development knowledge and parenting support. The organizational vehicle for delivering that knowledge and support is Parents as Teachers National Center.  The National Center drives that philosophy, or mission, through four program areas:  Born to Learn, Professional Development, Meld and Advocacy. All of these program areas work through a strong network of state leaders and partners.

The four-part intervention model known as Born to Learn delivers its mission-based program through intermediaries (parent educators) to the ultimate recipients (parents), while Professional Development is delivered directly to end users (professionals).  Meld is a facilitated group model that draws on peer support.  Advocacy works through both public and private sectors to promote positive policies for young families.

Although several vehicles are used to implement the mission-based programs, the network is an organized affiliation of many organizations and people with a common mission.  This combination of delivery vehicles allows the National Center to have the greatest and broadest impact.  Parents as Teachers promotes parent involvement in learning from the very beginning of a child's life and fosters optimal development of the young child.  To accomplish this, the Parents as Teachers National Center provides training and support to early childhood educators.

Through Parents as Teachers, parents acquire the skills to help make the most of crucial early-learning years.  This free program covers child development; suggests activities that encourage language development, intellectual growth and social and motor skills; and strengthens the parent-child relationship. A number of independent studies show that children who participate in PAT are significantly advanced over their peers, and that these early gains continue after the children enter elementary school.  Parents are also more highly involved in their child's school experiences and this is a key factor in education success.

Two basic assumptions of PAT are:
  • All families have strengths.
  • Parents are the experts on their child.


Parents as Teachers (PAT) is a parent education and family support program serving families throughout pregnancy until their child enters kindergarten, usually age 5.  Parents are supported by PAT-certified parent educators trained to translate scientific information on early brain development into specific when, what, how and why advice for families.  By understanding what to expect during each stage of development, parents can easily capture the teachable moments in everyday life to enhance their child's language development, intellectual growth, social development and motor skills.  Georgia Parents as Teachers local programs work with parents to provide them with parenting support and information on their developing child.  Parents as Teachers is designed to foster strong, loving relationships between parents and their children.

Personal Visits.  PAT-certified educators, trained in child development and 
home visiting, help parents understand and have appropriate expectations
for each stage of their child's development.  They offer practical ideas on
ways to encourage learning and interact with children.

Group Meetings.  Parents meet to enhance their parenting knowledge, gain
new insights and share their experiences, common concerns and
successes.  Group meetings also provide families the opportunity to
participate in parent-child activities.

Developmental Screening.  Parents as Teachers offers periodic screening of:
  • Overall development
  • Health
  • Hearing
  • and Vision
to provide early detection of potential problems and prevent later difficulties in school.

Resource Network.  Families are helped to access other needed community
services that are beyond the scope of the PAT program.

The Georgia PARENTS AS TEACHERS Network is charged with helping grow and expand Parents as Teachers programs within the state.  The state office leads advocacy efforts and the state and national levels and collaborates with other programs concerned with the growth and development of young children. The state office also serves as the communication medium between the state and Parents as Teachers National Center, supporting the delivery of training and professional development opportunities and promoting quality improvement for the programs offering Parents as Teachers services.

Georgia Parents as Teachers Network
1 - 5410 Matt HWY
Cumming, Georgia 30040
Phone: 706-577-3971

Research and evaluation has been integral to the success of Parents as Teachers since its inception more than 20 years ago.  Communities choose to implement the nationally recognized Parents as Teachers Born to Learn model because of its strong research base and many years of demonstrated outcomes. Parents as Teachers National Center continues to vigorously pursue a research agenda designed to increase our learning and provide new results about the impact of the national model, while local evaluation efforts provide evidence that a program is effective as it is being implemented in a specific community.  Together, results from national research studies and local evaluations contribute to the growing evidence base that supports the value to our society of investing in early childhood.

Program evaluation allows local programs to find out what's working well, identify what needs to be improved, and determine whether the program is having the intended impact.  Programs can evaluate the quality of their program using the PAT Standards and Self-Assessment Process and they can also measure outcomes of their program for the children and families they serve. In this section of the website, we have brought together tools and information to help programs evaluate outcomes.

What is Parents as Teachers?
Parents as Teachers is an early childhood parent education and family support program for parents of children prenatal to age three.

Is the program targeted to one special audience?
No.  The program is for all families of young children.  Single parents, two-parent families, first time parents, as well as experienced parents can benefit from the developmental information and ideas.

What are the program components?
Personal visits by a certified Parent Educator, group meetings, in-home developmental screening, access to local resource lending libraries,  and a subscription to the monthly newsletter.

What is a Parent Educator?
A Parent Educator is a degreed professional who is trained in early childhood development from prenatal to age three.

What can a parent expect during a personal visit?
The parent Educator goes prepared to cover specific developmental and/or parenting issues that relate to the age of the child.  During each visit the Parent Educator shares handouts and engages the parent and child in activities. This is also a great time for parents to ask questions or inquire about related services.

Are parents asked to purchase anything?
No.  In fact, Parent Educators will give ideas of how to use low-cost items that many households may already have on hand. They may also connect parents to community resources that are free or low-cost for families.

Why do we need PAT?

Recent neuroscience research on brain development demonstrates how early experiences shape the way children learn, think, and behave for the rest of their lives.  Parents play a critical role in providing these important experiences.

How does PAT help families?
PAT focuses on the early years, prenatal through kindergarten entry, to help parents understand what to expect during each stage of their child's development.  PAT-certified parent educators offer parents practical ways to encourage learning, manage challenging behavior, and promote strong parent-child relationships.

How does PAT help children?

In their beginning years, children learn more at a much faster pace than at any other time in their life.  Through PAT, parents acquire the skills to help make the most of these crucial early-learning years.  Later schooling cannot fully compensate for lack of intellectual stimulation and emotional nurturing in the early years.  Investing in good beginnings for children can pay long-term dividends for families, schools, and society.

How does PAT benefit your community?
When Parents as Teachers is implemented in a community, everyone benefits.  Through the program, parents become familiar with their community resources and develop good relationships with them from the beginning.  PAT positively impacts a community through:  children who experience personal and academic success, parents who increase their confidence in their parenting skills, school districts that develop good relationships with parents and enroll children who are ready for school, and government and civic leaders who invest in a cost-efficient child development program.

Additional Resources:

For more information on the GA Parents as Teachers Network, please
click the following link:
  Georgia Parents as Teachers (PAT) Network

For more information on the Parents as Teachers National Center, please
click the following link
: Parents as Teachers National Center

For more information about The National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC), including upcoming events and conferences, please
click the following link
: National Association for the Education of Young Children