Parents as Teachers

FSN - picsea EQlTyDZRx7U unsplash

Family Support Network (FSN) are proud to be the registered training organisation for Parents as Teachers in Australia.
Parents as Teachers (PAT) is an evidence-based parent education model that promotes optimal early development, learning and health of children by supporting and engaging their parents and caregivers.

Our Start Together team have been working with families using the PAT program for over 10 years and have been able to share this valuable knowledge and training with families and organisations since 2018.

Parents as Teachers

In the early 1980s Missouri pioneered the concept of helping parents embrace their important role as their child’s first and best teacher. Today, Parents as Teachers continues to equip early childhood organizations and professionals with information and tools that are relevant—and widely applicable—to today’s parents, families and children.

There are four dynamic components to the PAT model:

  • Personal Visits
  • Group Connections
  • Resource Network
  • Child Screening

Together, these four components form a cohesive package of services with four primary goals:

  • Increase parent knowledge of early childhood development and improve parent practices
  • Provide early detection of developmental delays and health issues
  • Prevent child abuse and neglect
  • Increase children’s school readiness and success

The Parents as Teachers model for providing services to families with children from the prenatal period to kindergarten has been tested by rigorous peer-reviewed studies and shown to produce results.

FSN currently delivers two PAT certification trainings.

Foundational (0-3 years)

This 30-hour certification training is designed for family and professional educators who intend to use the Parents as Teachers approach to support families whose children are prenatal to three years of age. Learners can expect a combination of self-paced online modules and live, online sessions. The training is facilitated by certified trainers who emphasize adult learning principles such as reflective practice and application to field practice.

Foundational 2 (3-6 years)

This 16-hour certification training is designed for family educators who intend to use the Parents as Teachers approach to support families whose children are between three to six years of age. Learners can expect a combination of self-paced online modules and live, online sessions. Prerequisite: successful completion of Foundational Training.

Training Options

Parents as Teachers training can be provided in either face-to-face setting or virtually. The training is delivered over 2 courses, Foundation 1 covering child development from prenatal to 3 and Foundation 2 covering child development for ages 3 to 6. We can provide training for individual people or to teams within organisations.

Foundational (0-3 years)

This evidence-informed and research-based curriculum was developed to equip family and professional educators with information to identify and build on family strengths, capabilities, and skills and to foster family protective factors. It features family-friendly activities and resources that engage parents in their children’s learning and development and inform their decisions around everything from nutrition to discipline to health.

Through parent educator resources, parent handouts, and activity pages, the curriculum promotes and strengthens the following content areas:

  • Child Development
  • Parenting Behaviours
  • Parent-Child Interaction
  • Development-Centred Parenting
  • Family Well-Being

The online publishing format allows content to be revised regularly, so that the content keeps up with advances in research, new scientific insights, and updated safety recommendations.

The Foundational Curriculum supports expected outcomes in both Parents as Teachers model affiliate programs and in other settings. It does this by:

Helping parents understand what comes next in the progression of development so they can provide support for all four developmental domains (language, cognitive, social-emotional, and motor) as well as their child’s approaches to learning.

Providing up-to-date information that enhances parent educators’ knowledge base and guides their role with families, including on sensitive topics such as maternal depression, substance use, mental health, domestic violence, developmental delays, and exposure to neurotoxins.

Offering easy-to-read handouts designed to reinforce parents’ learning between personal visits, on topics ranging from play to sleep to nutrition to family relationships.

Suggesting more than 250 activities that explore parent-child interaction in the context of children’s growth and development.
Ongoing access to the Foundational Curriculum is contingent upon annual renewals.

To find out more about the training dates and prices, please contact us

FSN - picsea EQlTyDZRx7U unsplash
FSN - thiago cerqueira Wr3HGvx RSM unsplash

Foundational 2 (3-6 years)​

Build knowledge and skills, and gain access to materials necessary to continue using the PAT approach with families whose children are between three and six years of age.

Develop understanding of changes in child development, parenting behaviours, and family well-being, while providing parent education to families whose children are between three and six years of age.

The Foundational 2 Curriculum: 3 Years Through Kindergarten is a continuation of the Parents as Teachers approach for those serving families with children ages 3 to 6. The digital book is similar in structure to the Foundational Curriculum, with hundreds of parent educator resources, parent handouts and activity pages around:

  • Child Development
  • Parenting Behaviours
  • Parent-Child Interaction
  • Development-Centred Parenting
  • Family Well-Being

It also includes additional web-based features and embedded videos that support parent educators’ knowledge and skill development around this exciting and dynamic age group.

To find out more about the training dates and prices, please contact us

Evidence Based Research

Australian Specific and International Research into Parent as Teachers Program

The University of Canberra completed a comprehensive report into the Parent as Teachers Program(PaT) in 2012. The full report is available in the link at the bottom of this page.

The report used program evaluations and administrative data from exit surveys of participants over 7 years to indicate that the PaT Program in the ACT is highly valued by parents for its key program elements, particularly the program’s focus on developing the skills and confidence of parents in regard to their child’s development. Key program features such as the child-focused nature of the program, its flexibility, and its activity-based curriculum were all nominated as strengths by respondents by exit surveys conducted since 2003. The exit surveys also indicated a consistently high level of satisfaction with the program among parents over the decade surveyed. The majority of the program’s participants recommended that the program should be offered more widely so new parents can have the opportunity to participate.

The report further found that although the parents of vulnerable children were of varying ages and in different circumstances, their views of the program’s benefits were quite similar. The most common themes from the interview transcripts were that the program was effective in addressing feelings of isolation; improving their confidence and skills in parenting; and helping them to access other services.

The report also looked at research conducted in North America. This research indicated and continues to indicate that when disadvantaged families participate in the PaT program, there are positive outcomes for children in terms of fewer injuries , increase rates of immunisation, improved language and literacy development and social behaviour, as well as improved parent attitudes and happiness in caring for their child. Long-term educational benefits for disadvantaged children have also been reported, particularly among children whose families engage with the program at an intense level. These outcomes are attributed to the program’s focus on improving the ability of parents to provide a home learning environment designed to enhance their child’s spontaneous problem solving and persistence on novel tasks.

Australian Evidence and Information;

University of Canberra – Final Report into Parent as Teachers
Recent Article from Dept of Education QLD – A to Z of Early Learning
Australian Institute of Family Studies

Parent and Teachers International Research;

Fact Sheets on the Parents As Teachers Model are available here


Our team has travelled all over Australia providing training in capital cities to small communities in Cape York. There is always so many positive responses from people that have completed the course. We’d like to share some of their comments with you.

The training will support me to be much better prepared for home visits. I will have a very comprehensive plan and a structure to follow

The online components were very inclusive and informative, we are able to ask questions and dissect the information provided. I absolutely love the curriculum, and how it is presented. this really will assist with preparing for home visits.

The curriculum is incredibly comprehensive and well organised. It will be a very valuable resource for my work with families.

The training was very well delivered with great facilitators who were able to understand out needs and made great efforts to understand our program model and how we could incorporate the Parents as Teachers Training into what we already deliver. The resource provision was excellent and sufficient time was given to allow us to be able to access the online portal and develop our skills in doing so.

Sarah and Karen have been very supportive to help me through the training with my unique learning style. They have provided a lot of support and knowledge and delivered the training in a variety of ways to keep us engaged and informed. Love the delivery of training through online and booklet. I feel equipped with a lot of useful resources

This training gives new emphasis on the whole child’s development, and their whole family wellbeing. very comprehensive.

Contact us

Fill out this enquiry form and we’ll get back to you.