HIPPY empowers parents to be their children’s first teacher

HISD parent Victoria Bryant had never even heard of the district’s Home Instruction Program for Preschool Youngsters (HIPPY) until she tried to enroll her three-year-old daughter at the TSU Charter Lab school recently—but today, she is one of its biggest fans.

“My daughter’s learning a lot of the things that I take for granted, but forget someone actually had to teach me, such as knowing the difference between ‘over’ and ‘under,’” she said. “It’s really broadened her vocabulary.”

Bryant was referred to HIPPY by a TSU Charter staff member after learning that the school was full and could not accept additional students. “She told me there was a program for parents to be their children’s first teachers,” said Bryant, “and while I was trying (to teach my daughter) at home, I really didn’t know what to do, so this came along at the right time. It was perfect. And it’s cool, because it gives me all of the tools that I need.”

Bryant said her favorite aspects of the program are its flexibility and its focus on the parents. “I like that the parent is the teacher,” she said. “I’m a student myself at TSU, so I know the importance of education, and I truly believe that learning starts at home.

“A lot of us (college students) have young children,” she added, “And we all are looking for something more in terms of education. Knowing your alphabet is not enough anymore for kindergarten students. It’s really fast-paced. HIPPY is giving my daughter the vocabulary to express herself clearly and giving me the patience to shape all of those ‘why’ questions, instead of getting aggravated. We’re both learning a lot.”

HIPPY instructors visit participants’ homes once a week to deliver lessons to the parents of children ages 3–5. Learning materials are provided free of charge and the program is also completely free to participants.

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INSTRUCTORS NEEDED: If you’d like to be a HIPPY instructor, please contact the Family and Community Engagement department at 713-556-7290.