In early October, nearly 600 families across the Houston area began receiving free lessons in their homes to prepare their children to succeed in HISD schools, before they ever set foot in a classroom.
Parents began participating in the Home Instruction for Parents of Preschool Youngsters (HIPPY) program, which models simple educational activities for parents to practice with their three-, four-, and five-year-old children. Forty-four HIPPY home instructors are assigned to communities across the district to enroll families and deliver the HIPPY curriculum. The one-hour weekly lessons span 30 weeks and cover early literacy skills, mathematics, science, fine and gross motor skills, and language development. Research shows that HISD kindergarten students whose parents have participated in the HIPPY program significantly outperform their peers in reading and math.
“The HIPPY program improves the connection between parent and child, and the children will surprise you with the changes in their confidence and attitude,” says Veronica Herrera, a third-year home instructor and HIPPY mother. “My 4-year-old son was in the HIPPY program and he is already reading, recognizing and sounding out words, and writing short sentences. His pre-K teachers have told me he is on a first-grade level.”
This year marks the free program’s first year as a recipient of the Texas Home Visiting Program grant. The grant will provide the HIPPY program with $5.8 million over the next five years, and expand the program into the Sunnyside, Third Ward, South Park, and Hiram Clarke communities.
“We are proud to be offering another year of this life-changing program to our HISD families,” said Assistant Superintendent for Family and Community Engagement Jorge Arredondo. “Early childhood is a critical time for cognitive development, and this program has proven its effectiveness in preparing young children to succeed in school.”
To learn more about HISD’s HIPPY program, visit www.HoustonISD.org/HIPPY or call 713-967-5298.