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Philanthropy Ireland, 4/10/18   Philanthropy In Action: Early Learning Initiative, National College of Ireland


 

With support from The Ireland Funds, our Parent Child Home Program (PCHP), an innovative, home based literacy and parenting program, has helped hundreds of parents to develop the confidence and skills to support their children’s language, literacy and numeracy development.

Our PCHP families often live in areas that suffer from generational, long-term problems of social deprivation, poverty, poor educational attainment and mass unemployment. Public violence, which ranges from aggressive shouting to more serious violent crime, is public and in sometimes in clear view of the children. Most of the families live in very overcrowded cramped conditions with children finding it difficult to learn to sit up, crawl and walk. Screen time has impacted severely on children’s language acquisition with the majority of the children non-verbal on entering the program; frustrated and aggressive because they can’t express themselves. The sense of isolation is very high with the Home Visitor often the only person to call to these families from one week to the next.

In their twice weekly visits, a sense of stability is achieved. The Home Visitors use high quality educational books and toys to model for parents how to talk, play and read with their children. The parents then continue the activities in their own time. As one dad said, “It’s a winner. He takes out them books. The wife would read to him most nights. I have seen the improvement.” Our longitudinal studies have found that PCHP children are doing well in school. A typical comment from parents is, “It built up my child’s language skills. He is in first class and he can read at third class level. Through PCHP he got the foundations for learning for life.” Ten years on, families are still using the books and toys provided by The Ireland Funds. One parent told us, “I would never have read books if it wasn’t for the program.” Another told us, “He asks for a story for bed….and just the other night, he went on into bed. I said, ‘Go on in and I’ll follow you in in a minute’ and he has the whole bag that he carries around with him with (PCHP) books in. When I went in, he said ‘Mam, I read this by myself.’” Interestingly, many PCHP children act as Home Visitors to their young siblings.

Please click here to read the full article in Philanthropy Ireland.

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