Community Partner Spotlight: Parents as Teachers

by | Dec 30, 2022 | Funding

Parents as Teachers (PAT) was developed after Missouri educators in the 1970s realized that children starting kindergarten had varying levels of school readiness.  It became a pilot program in 1981 with funding from the Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education and The Danforth Foundation; in 1985, the Missouri legislature began to provide funding to implement PAT programs in all school districts in the state.  Since then, the organization has expanded into all 50 states, 6 countries, and 115 tribes.  PAT aids parents in “embracing their important role as their child’s first and best teacher” as well as providing information and resources to early childhood organizations and professionals to best support parents, families, and children.


Parents as Teachers has four pillars of core values: diversity, equity, inclusion, and accessibility (DEIA), relationships, integrity, and accountability, and learning and growth. Ann Young, Director of Partnerships and Community Engagement at PAT, exemplified these principles when sharing what she finds most rewarding: “I think that the approach we take with families is a true partnership, and I love the fact that we learn as much from our families as they learn from us.”

Parents as Teachers is currently focused on the reauthorization of the Maternal, Infant, and Early Childhood Home Visiting (MIECHV) program offered at the federal level and is pushing for a budget increase. More funding would make the greatest difference in helping PAT get better at what it does.  Ann expressed, “we’re limited by the number of families we can serve because of funding, and we’re having such a great impact with the families that we are serving that we know an even greater impact could be made if there was more funding available.”

MIECHV is only one of PAT’s many initiatives to improve maternal and child health outcomes.  FLOURISH funded the “Promoting Infant Vitality: All Babies Deserve to Have a First Birthday” program between August 2020 and July 2021. Parents as Teachers served more than 126 Black pregnant and parenting mothers residing in six maternity shelters in St. Louis City & County. They were provided with portable cribs and other safe sleep supplies, resource referrals, and parenting workshops. Their most recent FLOURISH project allowed PAT’s certified doulas to receive “doula bags” to bring with them to hospitals, attend trainings to become lactation consultants, and receive certifications in perinatal mood disorders. This program also paid sixteen stipends for sixteen births. Parents as Teachers has partnered with FLOURISH and Generate Health for many years; Ann shared her gratitude for their joint efforts: “We’re just really proud to be partners with them and in the work that we’re doing, they’re doing, or we’re doing together. I’m just happy to be their partner.”

To get involved or contribute, visit

Learn more about Parents as Teachers FLOURISH grant funded projects, Promoting Infant Vitality: All Babies Deserve to Have a First Birthday, and Show Me Strong Families.


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