These HIPPY children have graduated with flying colours!

Having completed HIPPY, these children are now well on their way to a life time of learning.

The Home Interaction Program for Parents and Youngsters aka HIPPY is a two-year, home based, early learning and parenting program for families with young children. It’s an Australia wide program which Anglicare delivers in Launceston.

Especially designed to get young children ready for primary school, the program has been successful in improving the confidence of parents and children. It is delivered through tutors who visit the homes of the families involved.

“The tutor’s role is to support parents to be their child’s first teacher,” said coordinator Aparna Banerjee. “They show parents practical ways on how to encourage their child to actively learn”.

HIPPY is open to any families. Parents simply ask to join. But the program does fill up quickly with numbers capped at about 30 children per year group.

In the first year, tutors visit homes weekly. They work through that week’s activity with parents, following a set program. All of the activities are designed especially for early learners and siblings are welcome to join in.

“The best way to understand HIPPY is to tell you about it through the experiences of one of the children involved,” said Aparna.

“Brodie is a sprightly boy who loves the activities. In particular he liked learning how to plant seeds and watch them grow. He was fully engaged in this project and was thrilled to show his family’s tutor how he and his sister had planted a small veggie garden at their home”.

As well as their weekly activities at home there are regular group catch ups, often at the Punchbowl Christian Centre. Here there’s a playground and activities are set up. Children get to explore and parents can chat with other parents involved with HIPPY.

“Sometimes we have speakers attend – for example to deliver a CPR course. And sometimes we go on excursions,” said Aparna. “Supermarkets offer tours. These help to re-enforce the HIPPY activities focusing on healthy eating. The children are shown fruit and vegetables, and milk and cheese, and we talk about where these foods come from”.

A HIPPY graduation is a much celebrated occasion, with grandparents and other family members attending.

“Over the 2 years of HIPPY, parents make a scrap book. We call this the child’s journey book. And this is presented to each child at their graduation,” said Aparna. “The children are very proud to look back and see how they started out with scribbles but can now write their names”.

A testament to the success of the program has been the interest in parents going on to become HIPPY tutors themselves. Indeed, this is how Aparna first became involved.

“I just loved HIPPY, from the very start of my involvement as a parent, and I jumped at the chance of becoming a tutor,” said Aparna. “And now, even though I’ve almost completed my Masters of Teaching, I’m still keen to stay involved. It is so rewarding to see how children progress through the program and to hear the way parents talk about how it’s helping them”.

Involvement with HIPPY is widely appreciated by the families involved.

Here are a few comments we’ve received from parents of our recent graduates:

“HIPPY has really helped by being a consistent, stable and educational activity for us throughout a very hectic year”.

“My children really enjoyed HIPPY – all the activities, especially the craft making. They’re upset not to have HIPPY any more”.

“It was exciting to have done HIPPY activities with my daughter. It improved the bond between us”.

Find out more about how Anglicare can provide Support for Families or to make a HIPPY booking call Aparna 1800 243 232

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