Supporting parents to be their child’s first and most important teacher

This week is National Families Week, and to celebrate, we’d like to tell you about a special program we offer called HIPPY. HIPPY has nothing to do with dreadlocks, and everything to do with getting three-year-olds ready to start school.

Supports parents to be the first and most important teacher for their children

Home Interaction Program for Parents and Youngsters (HIPPY) is a national program that supports parents to be their child’s first and most important teacher. Tiesha (pictured) and her daughter started the program about 18 months ago.

“I first met Clare (HIPPY Darwin Coordinator back row left) on a craft mat making jellyfish. I remembered doing something similar at school, and my daughter really loved being creative and decorating her jelly fish. Clare told me about the HIPPY program and said that me and my daughter could be involved.

“I started in the program as a parent and after about one year, I was offered a job as a mentor. Being a parent first means I have the experience of using the program and when I tell families I was a parent in the program before I was mentor, they are more engaged with me because I have that firsthand experience”.

Tiesha (centre) with other HIPPY mentors and coordinators.

Learning for children and parents

HIPPY isn’t your run of the mill craft activity, it is an opportunity for parents and children to learn and grow. Through regular sessions with HIPPY resources, both the parents and children learn how to turn any moment into a learning experience. Mentors play an important role in this process.

For Tiesha, the flexibility of the program is really important. “HIPPY works in with my busy life, it’s designed for parents. I learned about the program by being involved, and now I have paid work doing something I enjoy”.

Excellent resource packs

All families in HIPPY are given free resource packs full of activities for parents and children to work on. “The packs are really good” said Tiesha. “There are fun facts throughout the books and it’s good to see families learn other ideas and other ways of doing things.

“The kids love to see everything we bring to them. The resources are colourful and eye catching and they love it being a part of it, it’s their own special time with their parents.

“The idea of sitting down and reading a book is new for some families. I’ve noticed in community learning is taught by being out in the bush so HIPPY shows a different way through the resources pack. It especially helps kids who aren’t in day care or pre-school get ready for school”.

Families and mentors invited to join  

HIPPY is offered in Darwin, Katherine and Yurrwi and gives families the opportunity to meet other HIPPY families, learn about child development and learn about local events and services in the community.

If you have a three-year-old and are looking for something to help your child get ready for school, please get in touch.

Katherine 08 8963 6100
Darwin & Yurrwi 08 8985 0000

If you’ve been a parent and are interested in becoming a mentor, get in touch by ringing Clare Bizley on 08 8985 0000.