Recruits wanted to join HIPPY

KARINA ABADIA
Last updated 05:00 15/02/2013
HIPPY

FAMILY AFFAIR: HIPPY supports parents to give their children a head start at school. From left, tutor Pauline Maurangi and her son Levi, Pt England HIPPY co-ordinator Carmel McLaughlin, Amanda Patoki and her daughter Leasharnea.

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An education programme which arms parents with the skills to prepare their children for primary school is looking for new recruits.

Home Interaction Programme for Parents and Youngsters (HIPPY) is a nationwide two-year home-based programme for 4 and 5-year-old children run by Great Potentials.

The course aims to help children listen and follow instructions, read and write and learn early maths concepts and language skills.

Each fortnight a tutor goes to the family's home and roleplays the coming week's activities with the parent.

The parent and child work together at home for 15 minutes a day, five days a week for 30 weeks a year, over two years.

"It supports parents to be involved in their child's learning," Pt England HIPPY co-ordinator Carmel McLaughlin says.

Every second week, the co-ordinator, tutors and parents get together to roleplay the workbook activities. This is followed by enrichment activities such as baking or learning gardening skills.

Transport is provided and children are placed in childcare at Te Waipuna Puawai, which provides the Pt England programme, while parents attend the sessions.

Tutors are selected from parents enrolled in HIPPY. They attend regional training as well as weekly sessions with the area co-ordinator.

Pt England resident Pauline Maurangi signed up as a tutor last year because her son had not attended daycare and she wanted to prepare him for school.

As a tutor she is responsible for 12 families. The home visits provide motivation and the support parents need to effectively teach their children, she says.

"If I just gave them the book they probably wouldn't be able to do it," she says.

Panmure resident Amanda Patoki says: "When you see your child's development then you start to understand the whole point of the programme."

She has noticed a marked improvement in her 5-year-old daughter Leasharnea's language ability and confidence.

Miss Maurangi says the same is true of her 5-year-old son, Levi.

"He was really shy before but HIPPY has given him the confidence to learn. It's also made me a proud parent. I don't think he would have any confidence if he hadn't started the programme," she says.

Mrs McLaughlin says the one-on-one parent and child sessions are invaluable.

"The children learn to sit and do focused activities with their mum. They get used to taking instructions so they can keep up when they go to school."

This month she will be knocking on doors in the Pt England and Panmure areas looking for new parents to enrol. There are 35 spaces available for parents with kids aged 3 to 4 years old. The programme costs $1 per week.

Call Mrs McLaughlin on 527 6596 for information.

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- © Fairfax NZ News

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