Home Instruction for Parents of Preschool Youngsters (HIPPY) is an evidence-based home visiting program that shows how parent engagement is the key to student success.
Vanessa Bahena’s family in Dallas is an example of how this success has assisted two generations. First, her mother and younger sister were part of HIPPY, which utilizes peer home visits and group meetings to help parents teach their children the skills they will need to be successful in school and in life. During each visit, the home visitor provides the parent with a scripted curriculum, storybooks and materials that enable them to work directly with their child on developmentally appropriate, skill-building activities. Once Vanessa’s son became three years old, she signed up for HIPPY as well.
“It’s definitely making a difference in Adrian’s life. Not every child can attend pre-K, so we must have ways to help all children learn,” she says. “I really like how the home visitor demonstrates the lesson first to me through role playing and then on my own I teach my son the lesson.”
Twenty years of research has shown that the HIPPY model improves school readiness, parent involvement, school attendance, classroom behavior and standardized test scores and academic performance by children participating in HIPPY.
From research, we know that:
- HIPPY parents become more engaged in reading, talking and working with their children. Parents participating in the HIPPY program report spending more time reading to their children; teaching them letters, words and numbers; visiting the library and monitoring their child’s TV use.
- HIPPY improves children’s school readiness.
- HIPPY children demonstrate higher achievement in school. Assessors found that children participating in HIPPY have demonstrated statistically significant higher achievement scores in reading, math and social studies in third, fifth and sixth grades based on multiple measures used in Arkansas, Texas, Florida and Colorado.
- HIPPY parents are involved in their children’s schools and education. For instance, nine out of 10 HIPPY parents credit the program with motivating them to check that their school-age children have completed their homework.
“I just see that it works—it worked for my sister, and I’m so glad it’s still here,” Vanessa says.