The FACE Program

The Family and Child Education (FACE) Program has served over 38,512 participants (18,093 adults and 20,419 children) from about 15,400 Native American families since it began in 1991 by the Office of Indian Education Programs/Bureau of Indian Affairs, now the Bureau of Indian Education (BIE). BIE brought Parents As Teachers National Center and the National Center for Family Literacy together to create this model for early childhood/parental involvement, currently in 44 BIE-funded schools. The emphasis has been on school readiness through culturally responsive education, resources and support for American Indian families with children prenatal through grade three.

Home-based FACE (The Parents As Teachers Model and Foundational Curriculum)

Personal Visits

Families with children who are prenatal to 5 years old receive a visit in their home every week or two. Home-based educators respect parents and other caregivers, and help them to be the first and most important teachers of their children. Each visit includes: age-specific information about parenting issues, family well-being, child development, and an educational activity between the parent and the child that is often adapted to emphasize the local culture and language.

Group Connection (FACE Family Circle)

Home-based parents are invited to a group meeting at least once a month. They hear speakers on topics related to family well-being, development-centered parenting, parent-child interaction, make books and toys for their children that often include the local culture and language, participate in parent-child activities, get to know the school-based FACE staff, and learn to feel good about being at the school.


Children’s developmental progress is checked two times a year. Parents are included in this look at their child’s development because they know their child best. Once a year each child’s hearing and vision is checked. The home-based educator also makes sure that parents have gotten all of the necessary immunizations for their child.

Resource Network

If learning or health problems are found, home-based educators help the family get additional services so the child will be able to reach their full potential.  Partnerships with community agencies are developed to provide families with comprehensive services.

Center-based FACE (The National Center for Family Literacy Model)

Adult Education

While the children are receiving their educational services, the parents are busy working toward their own learning goals in several areas: education, employment, and personal and family life. Parents often want more knowledge of their culture and language so they can share this knowledge with their children. They also want to learn how to use computers for their careers or to obtain a job, so technology skills are a major focus in the classroom.

Early Childhood

The educational program for the 3 to 5 year old children focuses on literacy development, particularly prereading skills, like letter identification, the sound and letter connections, vocabulary development and learning to love books, stories and language. Children also learn how to work together, make wise choices, solve problems, follow directions, and many other skills that will help them be good students. The native culture and language are essential components of the learning environment, teaching practices and curriculum.

Parent Time

Parents learn how to help their children in school. Lessons are often designed to develop knowledge of native culture and language. They gain knowledge about effective family life, child development and how to help their family be healthy. Parents learn about other services offered throughout the community that can help them achieve their goals.

Parent And Child Together Time (PACT Time)

Everyday parents and children work and play together in the children's classroom for about an hour. The parents support and participate in their children's play. Parents see how their children learn best and are able to work with them effectively. The teachers are present to provide support and demonstrate effective teaching strategies. The teachers also read to the group and provide ideas that will help children learn at home.

The FACE Program Impact and Need for Expansion

According to a recent study, "FACE prepares children for kindergarten by improving their school readiness skills. FACE levels the playing field for high-risk American Indian children entering kindergarten. FACE results in fewer special education placements when children reach school age."

The same study recommended providing similar opportunities for school readiness to all American Indian children by funding an additional 8-10 FACE programs each year, and by increasing funding for each from $250,000 to $400,000.