HIPPY program offers head start for at-risk youth

Once in awhile, it surprises me how close legislators and education leaders can come to “getting it” without really getting it.  Take the issue of school readiness.  Unfortunately, many of our young people who struggle the most academically have been behind since before their first day of kindergarten.  A number of programs, frequently focused on quality daycare or younger start dates for school, have been developed to try to level the playing field, but they rarely seem to address the root problem.

Enter HIPPY, Home Instruction for Parents of Preschool Youngsters.  Developed forty years ago in Israel, it is slowly making its way around the world as a successful model of helping prepare at-risk youngsters.  It does so not by separating children from their parents so that licensed profesionals have more hours with them, but by teaching parents to teach their own children.

It works this way: “home visitors,” usually young mothers, visit parents weekly with a simple curriculum the parents deliver to their own three, four and five-year-olds.

The free curriculum, which teaches the basic pre-kindergarten skills, takes about 15 minutes a day to deliver. Parents are equipped with everything they need, from advice on area services to books, crayons and scissors. Ottawa Citizen

Fifteen minutes a day of home education apparently goes a long way in preparing a child for school.

Who would have guessed?

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0 Responses

  1. Back when Washington DC’s city council was proposing universal preschool, I took the estimated cost for the first few years, divided it by the number they were expecting to serve and then estimated the number of books, audiobooks (even with cassette players) science kits and math manipulatives this would purchase per child.

    One of the worst travesties of the way that public support for child care works is that it is difficult if not impossible to get the same payment if the kids are watched over by a relative. So instead of being taken care of by a grandmother or an auntie in a home setting (which would be both more likely to care well for the kid and put some needed money into these families), they are farmed out to preschool collectives. I suppose that one could argue that paying family would encourage families to have more kids that needed care. But I’m not sure that the funding of outside daycare does much to discourage it.

  2. This sounds very much like the Parents as Teachers program, or like the Home Start program mentioned in the Moore’s books, that for some reason got bumped by Head Start even though it was more successful and less expensive.

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