HIPPY gets kids ready for school

WOLLONGONG ADVERTISER

Getting your child ready to enter the world of ‘‘big school’’  is no easy task but a Barnardos program is working wonders at helping parents who may feel lost at sea.

Barnardos South Coast last month celebrated the latest batch of 25 children and their families from the 2502 postcode (Warrawong, Lake Heights, Cringila and Kemblawarra) who have graduated from the HIPPY program (Home Interaction Program for Parents and Youngsters).

The two-year program focuses on four  and five-year-olds and helps give parents the skills and resources to prepare their children for school.

HIPPY home tutors, recruited from parents of preschoolers, visit families in their homes fortnightly  and provide learning activities for parents to work on with their children daily.

Barnardos South Coast deputy senior manager Jan Williams said HIPPY was  funded by the federal government and targeted at areas of disadvantage.

The Warrawong program had been running for three years and 175 children had taken part.

‘‘The parents have reported that their children were very ready for school and schools have commented that children hit school very prepared,’’ Ms Williams said.

Parents also said it was easier having resources provided and a structured learning program.

‘‘A lot of parents want to do things with their children but don’t know how to do it ... so the tutor teaches the parent how to then teach their child.’’

HIPPY also offered job opportunities for parents through tutoring.

Tutor Margaret Inness joined the program three years ago and her youngest son Thomas, 7, graduated from HIPPY last year.

‘‘It has helped Thomas a lot – with his numeracy and literacy before school. By the time he got to school he was able to read simple sentences and he’s in the top half of his class.’’

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