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HIPPY - home interaction programme for parents and youngsters

HIPPY (Home Interaction Programme for Parents & Youngsters) is a home-based programme that supports parents in becoming actively involved in their four- and five-year-old children's learning. Parents and children work together for fifteen minutes a day with storybooks, puzzles and learning games that help children become successful learners at school.

The HIPPY programme builds on the bond between parents and children. HIPPY believes parents play a critical role in their children's education. HIPPY offers support that builds upon parental strengths so parents can provide their children with necessary skills and confidence to begin school with a positive attitude toward learning.

The work children and parents do together in their own home with the HIPPY materials is complemented by what they can gain from attending their local early childhood education.

The HIPPY staff and delivery method

Parents who are currently working on HIPPY with their own child, or have recently completed the HIPPY programme, train to become paraprofessional HIPPY tutors. They in turn coach other parents by showing them how to use the HIPPY materials with their own children.

The tutors are trained and supported by a local coordinator. They meet each week to work through the next workbook that they will deliver to the parents at a home visit, or on alternate weeks at a group meeting.

During the weekly training sessions the tutors are afforded many opportunities to build on their experience and gain knowledge and skills that they will take to the workplace, or to further study, after their two years as a HIPPY tutor.

The fortnightly Home Visits ensure all families are able to participate on HIPPY. The home is the child's primary learning environment. It is a comfortable environment, and childcare and transport are not barriers.

The Group Meetings provide an opportunity for parents to come together, practise the new activities for the next week, and to take part in discussions and workshops about topics related to child development, parenting, and other topics they choose to learn more about. This is also an opportunity to meet others in their community, to find out what is happening in their community and develop new friendships.

Because the tutors are of the same community and have young children, they have a deep understanding of the families they are supporting, and form trusting relationships. The tutors become role models for other parents, many of whom may become HIPPY tutors themselves.

HIPPY outcomes

  • HIPPY children arrive at school ready to learn, and settle into the learning environment
  • HIPPY children score better on measures of literacy, numeracy and understanding appropriate school behaviour than their non-HIPPY peers
  • HIPPY children retain their competency in reading and numeracy skills
  • HIPPY parents are more likely than their peers to engage in positive educational activities with their children
  • HIPPY parents are more likely than their peers to become involved in school activities with their children
  • HIPPY parents are more likely than their peers to seek further education for themselves