HIPPY program available to preschoolers

    HIPPY-Program-LogoA new educational option is available for the parents of preschool children locally.
    Home Instruction for Parents of Preschool Youngsters (HIPPY) originates from a 1969 program that started in Israel. Arkansas began their program in 1986 in Pine Bluff, Russellville, Little Rock and the Pulaski County School district.
    The home-based, early childhood educational readiness program is for parents of three to five year old children.
    In 2015, 31 agencies sponsor HIPPY in 69 counties, serving over 5,300 children statewide.
    Expanded federal funding has recently allowed the program to expand into Clark, Montgomery and Pike Counties. The local program is headed by the Dawson Educational Cooperative in Arkadelphia.
    According to program literature, “a love of learning begins at home … every child need and deserves an opportunity to have the best possible preschool education,” and “the role of parents in the education of their child … regardless of their socio-economic circumstances.”
    Program necessities, including story books, program curriculum, and other learning supplies such as crayons, scissors, pencils and glue are provided at no cost to participating families if they qualify based n eligibility criteria established by the Arkansas Better Chance/MIECHV guidelines.
    Weekly lessons are designed to develop wide-ranging skills in the areas of literacy, math, fine/gross motor skills, science and language development.
    “Children learn reading concepts such as how to predict what a story will be about using the pictures and how to listen to gain information. Math lessons teach concepts such as counting, the meaning of numbers, sorting, etc. All of the lessons are fun and interactive, so that the children will be excited to do them each week,” stated a program pamphlet.
    While the program targets families not receiving preschool services, children attending ABC classes or Headstart programs are still eligible in order to “enter kindergarten ready and eager to continue learning.”
    Students that have turned three or four years old before December 31, 2015 are eligible for the program that will begin in Fall 2015.
    To help parents become “their child’s first teacher” the HIPPY program makes in-home stops weekly for 30 weeks to help facilitate the information exchange from parent to child, working with the parents to schedule a time that is most convenient for the weekly visits.
    “Home visiting delivers early education and support to families where they are – in their homes … empower[ing] parents …. build[ing] a better future for themselves and their children.”
    For those interested in joining the program, of for those seeking more information, please contact Silvia Hughes, Homebased Educator, at 501-658-8507, Mary Purtle, Coordinator, at (870) 246-1455, or the HIPPY Arkansas State Office at (501) 364-3671.