Though the Washington Post reported this under the headline “Home visiting programs are preschool in its earliest form” — the real story is that these programs teach parents how to be active participants in their children’s education from infancy.
One 2012 study in New York found that children who participated in a home visiting program operated by Chicago-based Healthy Families America were less likely than a control group to repeat first grade and more likely to excel at skills such as following instructions and working well with others.
Other studies have shown a wide rage of social and health benefits, all of which are also related to later school performance, including fewer low-birth-weight babies, less isolation and depression for new moms, and fewer cases of child abuse and neglect. Many programs also help parents pursue additional education or better jobs.
Advocates feel that the personalized approach — seeing the exact environment a child is in and working to improve it – makes all the difference. Some programs even start while the mother is still pregnant, encouraging her to eat better and to read books to her preborn child.