Seventy preschoolers will graduate from Milwaukee’s Home Instruction for Parents of Preschool Youngsters (HIPPY) program on Saturday, May 14th at the Milwaukee Public Library’s Centennial Hall (733 N. 8th Street). The event will include a graduation ceremony for families completing year three of the program and a luncheon reception.
HIPPY is an internationally-renowned early literacy and parental engagement program for children ages 3-5 provided by COA Youth & Family Centers, in partnership with The Parenting Network. “HIPPY is designed to empower both kids and parents,” said Jessica Namaste, COA’s HIPPY Program Director. “The heart of HIPPY is making sure that every kid is prepared for school. The curriculum supports cognitive development and helps build literacy, but social-emotional skills are just as critical in helping kids become stable students. And we do this cooperatively, alongside the family – the core of HIPPY is getting parents involved, engaged, and educated to be their child’s first and most important teacher” Namaste said.
The program uses a peer-to-peer model to deliver 30-weeks of curriculum through home visits for parents of children ages three to five years. HIPPY establishes a daily “habit” of parental involvement in education through age-appropriate books, structured learning activities, and behavior modeling.
Now in its eighteenth year in Milwaukee, HIPPY began at COA in 1998 in partnership with National Council of Jewish Women – Milwaukee Section, which continues to support the program. The Milwaukee program, also now provided through The Parenting Network, serves approximately 300 families each year and is supported by Milwaukee Public Schools as well as grants from The Herzfeld Foundation, Northwestern Mutual Foundation, PNC Bank Foundation, Wells Fargo Foundation, and the United Way of Greater Milwaukee and Waukesha County. HIPPY serves approximately 15,000 U.S. families annually in more than 20 states and the District of Columbia, as well as additional families worldwide. Research shows that HIPPY improves school readiness, standardized test scores, academic performance, classroom behavior, school attendance, and parental involvement.