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Research Spotlight on Home Visits

NEA Reviews of the Research on Best Practices in Education

Found In: teaching strategies

Many school districts have established successful teacher home visit programs. Home visitations by teachers get parents involved in their child's education, and they let parents and children know how much teachers care.

Also, programs that provide time and funding for teachers to visit students and parents on their own turf are a way for teachers to learn more about their students, get the parents more involved in their child's education, and bridge cultural gaps that might occur between student and teacher. Most teachers report their home visits have a lasting effect on the child, the parent, and parent-teacher communication.

Home visits by teachers aren't a new idea. The Head Start program has used them for many years. Head Start teachers are required to make at least two home visits for each student during each school year, in addition to regular parent-teacher conferences at school. Many U. S. kindergartens also require home visits by teachers before school starts.

Teachers' visits to students' homes can take many forms. The visitation approach might vary from school to school and usually depends on the funding source. In some schools, teachers prefer to travel in pairs to their visits. They feel more comfortable that way and sometimes need a translator in order to communicate with a child's parents. Other teachers visit one-on-one with the parent. Some interact with the child and the parent. Many teachers may bring along learning activities for the child that also involve a parent's participation. Normally, visits can last anywhere from 30 to 90 minutes, depending on the teacher and the activities.

When teachers get to know their students and their families, the parents become powerful advocates in their children's education. Home visits can give teachers the insight they need to help all students succeed. Here are some related resources and research on home visits:

  • A Guide to Home Visits (PDF icon PDF, 59.4 KB, 3 pgs.)
    Michigan Department of Education Early Childhood Programs - This guide provides a philosophy for making home visits, practical advice for the visit, appropriate procedures for implementing and completing the visit, as well as guidelines for post visit practices.
  • Sending Teachers on Visits to All Homes 
    All 2,800 students in this district, from prekindergarten to twelfth grade, receive a home visit by their teacher prior to the start of each school year. Visits generally begin during the second week of August. During the visits, teachers create important bonds and extend education beyond the four walls of the classroom, inviting parents to be a part of their children's education. (School Administrator, 2008)
  • Parent/Teacher Home Visit Project
    This project is an inexpensive and easily replicated model of parent engagement that has been proven to end the cycle of blame between parents and school staff by building trust and respect, instilling cultural competency and increasing personal and professional capacity for all involved.

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