About us

Our Vision

All children will learn, grow and develop to realize their full potential.

Our Mission

To provide the information, support and encouragement parents need to help their children develop optimally during the crucial early years of life.

Our Values

The early years of a child's life are critical for optimal development and provide the foundation for success in school and in life.

Parents are their children's first and most influential teachers.

Established and emerging research should be the foundation of parent education and family support curricula, training, materials and services.

All young children and their families deserve the same opportunities to succeed, regardless of any demographic, geographic or economic considerations.

An understanding and appreciation of the history and traditions of diverse cultures is essential in serving families.


Twenty-five years ago, 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.

The Parents as Teachers leadership team and Board of Directors is engaged in a three-year strategic plan, which positions the organization as a valued partner to support the organizations and professionals who serve families and children, especially those most vulnerable.

The concept for Parents as Teachers was developed in the 1970s when Missouri educators noted that children were beginning kindergarten with varying levels of school readiness. Research showed that greater parent involvement is a critical link in the child's development of learning skills, including reading and writing.

Early childhood professionals suggested that a program to provide early detection of developmental delays and health issues, and parent education to help parents understand their role in encouraging their child's development from the beginning could help improve school readiness and parent involvement.

With funding from the Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education and The Danforth Foundation, Parents as Teachers began in 1981 in Missouri as a pilot project for first-time parents of newborns. Recognizing the program's benefits and cost effectiveness, the Missouri legislature provided state funding in 1985 to implement Parents as Teachers programs in all Missouri school districts. Since 1985, Parents as Teachers has expanded to all 50 states and seven other countries.

The Parents as Teachers program is a program designed for families with children prenatal through 5 years of age, anyone that is pregnant or teen parents. Services include developmental screenings and monthly home visits for all families, play groups and group meetings for teen parents. 

High Needs Criteria (need at least two of the following to be considered for High-needs PAT services- this includes 2 monthly in-home visits):

  • Chemical Dependencies
  • Foster care / Court appointed Guardian
  • Low income (must meet district free and reduced lunch guidelines)
  • Referred from Division of Family Services
  • More than 2 family homes in the past year
  • Death in the immediate family
  • On-going health concerns with child, parent or sibling
  • Parent with disabilities
  • Speakers of other languages in the household (Non-English or limited English speaking)
  • Child with disabilities
  • Family involvement with corrections
  • Military family
  • Teen parent
  • Very low birth weight (less than 3.3 pounds)
  • Less than high school diploma
  • Single parent household

Developmental Screenings

Developmental Screenings are provided free of charge to families with children ages 3 months to 5 years. Families interested in a developmental screening, please contact Mandy Voyles at 573-734-6111 ext. 203 

Personal Home Visits

Once a family has been determined eligible to receive PAT services, the Parent Educator assigned to your family will contact you to schedule a home visit. Home visits occur between 4 times per year up to bi-monthly visits depending on the needs for your family.

Teen Group Meetings

Teen Group Meetings are held throughout the school year at Mineral Area College and the high school. Please contact me if you are interested in the teen meetings.

Enrollment in Parents as Teachers

Please contact Heather Petrie at 573-734-6111 ext 315 if interested in enrolling your family in the Parents as Teachers program.

For additional questions, please contact Mandy Voyles at mvoyles@bismarckr5.org