Program Helps Mothers Ensure Children’s Proper Development

September 13, 2013

Unlocking Word Meanings

Read the following words/expressions found in today’s article. 

1. upbringing [UHP-bring-ing] (n.) – the way that a child is raised or trained by his or her parents or guardians
Example:  Most people believe that having good manners is a sign of a good upbringing.

2. formative [FAWR-muh-tiv] (adj.)  – refers to a period when something is still growing or developing
Example: Proper education and guidance are important for children in the formative years. 

3. prenatal [pree-NEYT-l] (adj.) – prior to giving birth
Example: The community clinic provides free medicine and prenatal vitamins for pregnant women.

4. guardian [GAHR-dee-uh n] (n.) – someone who takes care of or protects another person
Example: When his parents died, his grandmother became his guardian.

5. preventive [pri-VEN-tiv] (adj.) – used to keep something from happening
Example: He takes plenty of vitamins as a preventive measure from getting sick.


Read the text below.

A new program in the U.S. aims to ensure children's health and development by generously providing support to mothers before and after their babies are born.

The Healthy Families program, run by Northern Virginia Family Service, aims to ensure proper upbringing of children by conducting regular home visits to families. These visits start from pregnancy and end when children reach three years. The organization believes that the children’s first three years are very crucial because it is when brain development is at its most formative stage.

During home visits, a support worker educates the mother and helps ensure proper development for her baby. During pregnancy, for example, the support worker may provide prenatal advice to the mother. Once the child is born, the support worker then focuses on interaction between the child and his parent or guardian and initiates various games and activities designed to foster the child’s growth.

Early literacy is also promoted through book-reading and similar exercises, since getting the child ready for school is an important goal of the Healthy Families program.

Mary Agee, president of Northern Virginia Family Service, believes that early intervention is the key to ensuring a child’s success in life. According to her, negative outcomes can easily be avoided through preventive measures, such as this initiative.

To date, the program has reached more than 7,000 families. The services are provided for free to qualified families.

Viewpoint Discussion

Enjoy a discussion with your tutor.  

Discussion A

·         Should parents be solely responsible for care of their children, or should they be given assistance similar to the Healthy Families program? Explain.
·         Do you believe that the care a child receives during his or her early years determines his success later in life? Why or why not?

Discussion B

·         In your opinion, what aspects show a person’s good upbringing? Explain.
·         How can parents assure that their children experience proper upbringing?


September 13, 2013