School readiness on the agenda for Nambucca Valley families through HIPPY program
A two-year home-based early childhood education and parenting program, designed to empower parents and carers to be their child’s first teacher, the Home Interaction Program for Parents and Youngsters (HIPPY), is making a difference to school readiness in New South Wales town Nambucca Valley.
HIPPY is federally funded by the Department of Social Services (DSS), with 100 sites across Australia. Recently, regional publication News Of The Area spoke with Nadia Farah, HIPPY coordinator for the Nambucca Valley about service delivery in the region.
Children and parents are visited in their home with resource packs designed to empower parents in getting their children school ready, Ms Farah explained.
“Many parents and children get very anxious about entering school, and HIPPY provides problem solving skills to meet those anxieties,” she added.
HIPPY also offers parents an opportunity to train as tutors and “give back” to the program, as well as avenues to access programs for upskilling more generally.
Each year HIPPY has two placements for those parents interested in work as HIPPY tutors. The placements are taken from the current parent group already registered in the program. Tutors are then trained to deliver the program to other families in the group, and provide upskilling for employment opportunities in the future.
Seeing the sense of achievement that parents get from being tutors, Ms Farah explained, is one of the best parts of her role.
Beyond working with children and families and supporting parents, the HIPPY program has outcomes which stretch beyond the family unit and into the community, she added.
“HIPPY delivers programs to the greater educational community, kindergartens, schools and community groups.”
“I get amazing positive feedback from kindergartens, and schools, and local educators tell me they can spot HIPPY kids as they are more school ready.”