The Home Interaction Programme for Parents and Youngsters (HIPPY) is completing its 12th year of operation and is still going strong. Since it began in 2005 over 730 local families have been enrolled on the programme and the original HIPPY kids are now young adults making their way in the world. 33 local parents have been employed as HIPPY tutors and given the opportunity of gaining the skills and confidence to do further studies or continue on with other employment opportunities.
The most important aspect of the programme is the quality time that the HIPPY parent spends with their HIPPY child. As a society we are becoming more and more time poor with digital devices being used to communicate or entertain the kids. Quality conversations between parents and children where children are listened to, able to use new words and explore the world around them are not happening like they used to. Studies have shown that many children are going to school with less vocabulary than children did several years ago.
The HIPPY programme works with parents and their pre-schoolers aged between 3 ½ and 4 ½ and continues on for 60 weeks over two years – often supporting children in their first year at school until they are around 6. HIPPY kids starting school have better listening, logical thinking and problem solving skills. They are confident to try new things, have good early reading skills and a strong foundation in basic mathematics. Social skills such as turn taking, fine motor control; spatial perception and creativity are also improved through the variety of fun HIPPY activities covered each week.
HIPPY tutors train the parents to work with their own children by role-playing the HIPPY activities for the week using all of the relevant props and materials. The parents are then left to work with their child for about 15 minutes each day. Parents soon see how much their child enjoys this special one-to-one time as well as how quickly their child picks up new words and concepts. Many parents find that this special relationship continues on for many years and that their ‘HIPPY child’ is more thoughtful, independent and helpful as well!!
If you have a child between 3 ½ and 4 ½ as of February next year and would like to discuss whether or not the HIPPY programme is right for you and your child, contact coordinator Bernie Malizia on 02102206017.