ParentChild+ National

Originally from the US, the ParentChild+ Programme is an innovative, home-based literacy and parenting programme that strengthens families and prepares children to succeed academically.

For over 14 years, ELI has delivered ParentChild+ to vulnerable families with children aged 18 months to 3 years in Dublin, expanding to Galway, Limerick and more recently Louth. Beginning with 15 families in 2007, numbers have grown to 383 in 2021. Unfortunately, this is only 3% of the 12,400 babies born into poverty in Ireland each year and 8% of 4,800 babies born to first time parents living in poverty (CSO 2019). We would like to do more.   

Extending ParentChild+ to other disadvantaged communities across Ireland is central to ELI’s 2020-25 Strategic Plan as we want to ensure that all children get the support needed to start school with the language, literacy and numeracy skills needed for success in education, no matter what their background is or where they live. The ParentChild+ National Home Visiting Training, Research and Support Centre is committed to scaling up ParentChild+ in a sustainable way with two new sites in Waterford and Wexford coming on board in 2021. It also ensures fidelity to the programme and high-quality service delivery through its ongoing comprehensive support to ParentChild+ Managers, Coordinators and Home Visitors around the country. 

ParentChild+ Started
Docklands and East Inner City (NCI) 2007
Dublin South City Partnership 2009
ABC Grangegorman/DoCCS 2014
Garryowen, Limerick 2015
Ballinasloe, Galway   2015
Ballyfermot Partnership (ABC) 2017
St Ultan’s, Cherry Orchard 2017
Clondalkin – Blue Skies (ABC) 2019
Louth Genesis (ABC) 2019
Youth New Ross, Wexford
Brill FRC, Waterford

Critical Lifeline during COVID-19
ParentChild+ proved to be an essential local peer-led community lifeline for children and families during COVID-19. By providing families with much needed virtual high-quality stimulating educational support and materials, it improved the well-being, morale, mental health and home learning environment in many homes. 

Mam says it gives them a reason to get up and get dressed and has created a routine for their day. The children really look forward to the calls and activities. The calls have been so beneficial for her own mental health and wellbeing.

Programme Delivery 

ParentChild+ is an evidence based, ‘learning through play experience’ for parents and their preschool children. It is designed to strengthen the natural bond between parent and child and to encourage a love of learning. It employs a non-directive approach and encourages the parent as the child’s first and best teacher. This programme prepares children for later success in school.  

ParentChild+ employs specially trained local women as Home Visitors, to model verbal interaction for the parent and child. The Home Visitor visit the family twice a week, in their own home, for two short (1/2 hour) play sessions, which are run during the (primary) school year only. The family then continue the activities in their own time, thereby enabling the ParentChild+ child and his/her siblings to develop their language, literacy and numeracy skills.  

Expected Outcomes  

  • The educational outcomes for children, particularly in pre-numeracy and pre-literacy skills, will be improved as result of their engagement in ParentChild+. They will start school ready to learn, thereby maximizing their chances of success in education and life  
  • Parent involvement in their children’s educational development will increase. Parents will have the self-confidence and skills to support their children’s learning as they progress through the education system and on to employment  

“I have thoroughly enjoyed co-ordinating the ParentChild+ Programme since October 2020. Right from the beginning the support received from the Senior Specialist and other Co-ordinators has been amazing. We work together for the good of all our families looking after each other. The monthly meetings and WhatsApp group are so valuable and supportive. Great for getting ideas and advice.” [Site Coordinator] 

“I was worried about my son. He wasn’t talking and I had concerns around autism. Since joining the programme he is coming on so well. He is talking and counting. His social skills have really improved. We are currently working on getting him to wait and take turns. He loves his Home Visitor and runs to greet her every time. He goes straight for her bag to see what gift she has for him. I can’t thank the programme enough. I’m less worried about his future because I have seen the changes in him in this short time. The changes the programme has made in my son are priceless.” [Parent] 

“The ParentChild+ Programme to me is making little changes in children that will in turn be big differences in the parent and child’s life, long term benefits. Seeing the reaction from the child when the parent is playing with them is so rewarding.” [Home Visitor]

We are available to discuss and advise interested partners who may want to start the programme in their area.   

If you are interested in setting up a ParentChild+ site in your community, please contact:

Michelle Moore
ParentChild+ Senior Specialist 
Phone: (086)4666407