Family-Child Relationship: Partners for a Healthy Baby emphasizes the family-child relationship as the foundation for a child's learning and development. The curriculum provides abundant guidance to home visitors about ways to engage parents in building relationships with their children through a variety of reflections and handouts (e.g., "Encourage different ways parents can be available as toddler's secure base."). Guidance for facilitating parent-child relationships is delineated in the "Baby's Development" and "Caring for Baby" sections and is also embedded throughout the curriculum.
Active Exploration and Play: The curriculum consistently emphasizes the importance of play and provides guidance to home visitors and parents on how to engage children in ongoing active play and exploration. Parent handouts such as "Watch My Thinking Skills Grow" and "Watch My Play Skills Grow," and the "Detailed Information Pages" for home visitors, discuss the importance of play in children's development and include some guidance for supporting children's play skills at different age levels. For example, at 7 months, "Talk about baby's first play skills and why play is important;" and at 8 months, "Explain how play helps the baby learn." The parent handouts offer ideas to promote play and exploration (e.g., "Make the fun tub a fun place to learn by adding plastic cups, measuring cups ... She'll love to think of the different ways to make the water splash and ripple."). The parent handout "Children Learn Through Play" provides ideas for supporting children's learning. Similar guidance is offered throughout the curriculum to support children's problem-solving, observation, and exploration skills. Although advice for supporting active exploration and play is embedded throughout curriculum materials, suggestions for parents in the handouts (e.g., "You can ...") are often brief and not specific.
Interactions that Extend Children's Learning: Throughout the curriculum materials, some guidance is provided on extending children's communication, thinking, and exploration. For example, parent handouts such as the "Watch My Thinking Skills Grow" and "Watch My Play Skills Grow" series describe prompts for parents to extend conversations (e.g., "Talk about the way [toys] feel, the sounds they make, and what color they are," "Ask your baby questions with the words 'more' or 'again' ") and to engage in responsive interactions (e.g., "Copy the different sounds the child makes and give him time to respond with something new."). Additionally, handouts to support language and literacy provide guidance on how to extend children's communication and language skills (e.g., "Encourage turn-taking conversations between parents and baby," "Talk about labeling everyday objects"). However, suggestions for interactions that extend children's learning are often provided as brief, general statements of what parents can do to support new play skills.
Individualization: The curriculum includes some guidance for home visitors to support parents as they learn about their children's development and interests (e.g., "It is time to look again at the things you have been observing with your baby. I am excited to hear what you've noticed your baby doing since my last visit."). However, it includes little information on how to collaborate with families to create learning experiences that build on children's individual strengths or needs. Additionally, the curriculum provides only a few activities that build on families' cultures and home languages.