HIPPY changes fam­i­lies

South Waikato News - - NEWS -

The co-or­di­na­tor of a par­ent­ing pro­gramme says it is giv­ing chil­dren in Toko­roa a bet­ter start to their ed­u­ca­tion.

Home In­ter­ac­tion Pro­gramme for Par­ents and Young­sters ( HIPPY) helps low-in­come par­ents to pre­pare their four-and five-year-olds for school.

‘‘Some of these fam­i­lies are def­i­nitely hav­ing their lives turned around,’’ Toko­roa HIPPY co­or­di­na­tor Ta­nia Ratu said. ‘‘ It teaches fam­i­lies how to learn to­gether.’’

Mrs Ratu said the pro­gramme was about get­ting chil­dren to speak and share their ideas as well as give them new vo­cab­u­lary for ev­ery­day life.

‘‘Most of all, par­ents are feel­ing a sense of em­pow­er­ment to­wards their child’s ed­u­ca­tion.’’

A stand-out ex­am­ple, she said, was of a mother of nine who did not think she needed HIPPY but de­cided to find out what it was about. She was now in the pro­gramme and said it had changed her par­ent­ing style.

‘‘There’s now a learn­ing at­mos­phere in her home and she is amazed how much her youngest child is learn­ing,’’ Mrs Ratu said.

But it is not just the chil­dren who ben­e­fit. ‘‘This time last year the room was empty, it was just me and now it’s full of peo­ple ex­cited to do HIPPY,’’ she said.

‘‘Two mums who be­came tu­tors in Toko­roa had not com­pleted any form of higher ed­u­ca­tion but af­ter work­ing as a HIPPY tu­tor for other par­ents, one wants to study teach­ing and the other so­cial work.’’

The pro­gramme in­volves par­ents and chil­dren work­ing to­gether for 15 min­utes a day with story books, puz­zles and learn­ing games that help chil­dren be­come suc­cess­ful learn­ers at school.

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