Early childhood education puts great emphasis on setting up children for success in their academic journey. HISD parents have the option of helping their little scholar get a head start with HIPPY, an evidence-based, at-home learning program for children ages two through kindergarten.
HIPPY (Home Instruction for Parents of Preschool Youngsters) is a free program for future HISD students, designed to train parents to teach their toddlers the educational cornerstones that they need thrive once they grow into a traditional classroom.
Parents are trained to give a 45-60 minute lesson to their child once a week for the duration of the 30-week curriculum on subjects including counting and grouping, learning sounds, identifying opposites, and more. All lessons are available in both English and Spanish.
“Empowering parents is essential, because [parents] prepare their kids for school,” said HIPPY Manager Gabby Hernandez. “We prepare and empower those parents with literacy, math, social and emotional learning, science, the alphabet … all the skills and strategies that their kids need to know to out-perform other students that are not HIPPY students.”
Enrollment for HIPPY is always open, and in celebration of the end of this year’s summer session, HIPPY hosted an enrollment party at the Jerusalem Missionary Baptist Church, a local institution that stepped up to house the HIPPY program’s coordinators in 2017 when their offices were flooded during Hurricane Harvey. Community members, current HIPPY students, and alumni gathered for a morning of book giveaways, snacks, face-painting, and music in the church’s event hall where HIPPY representatives were available to answer questions and talk about the program.
“The most important part of our program is that it is aimed at parents,” said Hernandez. “We empower them to become leaders in their community and to advocate for their kids in schools. We help them to navigate the school district so that they can understand the strategies and guidelines for schools, join PTA or PTO, and be more involved in their child’s school community.”
Students who participate in the HIPPY program are shown to significantly outperform their kindergarten peers in reading and math. All HISD families who have children zoned to a participating elementary school can participate in HIPPY.