HIPPY endorsed as highly effective way to provide early childhood learning in the home

HIPPY endorsed as highly effective way to provide early childhood learning in the home

by Freya Lucas

February 17, 2021

Two landmark academic studies into outcomes for children, parents and tutors participating in the Home Interaction Program for Parents and Youngsters (HIPPY) program have found marked improvements in children’s school readiness, parental engagement in early learning, and women’s job readiness.


Senator Anne Ruston formally launched the studies in the South Australian regional town of Murray Bridge last week, endorsing HIPPY as a highly effective way to provide early childhood learning in the home, and as a program which provides parents with the tools, knowledge and confidence to take responsibility for their children’s learning at home whilst also being a crucial program supporting communities facing disadvantage.


The Brotherhood of St. Laurence’s (BSL) Research and Policy Centre Director, and co-author of the HIPPY longitudinal study, Shelley Mallett, stated that HIPPY was life-changing for those involved.


“These studies, the largest conducted on HIPPY, show what BSL, the Federal Government and all those involved have known for years, that HIPPY makes a real difference,” Professor Mallett said. 


There are social justice implications behind the implementation of the HIPPY program, with the studies showing that participation in the HIPPY program leads to better school readiness, with many of the children who participate in the program finishing the program with literacy and numeracy skills above the Australian average, despite many of them starting the program behind their peers.


Parents participating in the program also report feeling more confident and engaged in their child’s education after participating. Those who provide tutoring in the program receive job training, meaning the benefits of participation multiply on a societal level. 


BSL’s Acting Executive Director, Lucia Boxelaar, noted that the program provided strong returns on the Federal Government’s investment, commenting that the studies “only add to the proof that HIPPY is a great return on the Commonwealth’s long-term investment in children’s education and life outcomes”. 


The program currently operates across 100 sites Australia-wide, with BSL managing the in-home education program for children aged four to five years living in low-income households.