Clayton Early Learning
18Feb/16Off

HIPPY: A Brief Introduction

Peter Blank

What is HIPPY?

There are many program options available to families at Clayton Early Learning. In addition to the numerous center-based options our schools offer, many families participate in various home-based programming.  One of these options is the Head Start Home Based* program, which employs the HIPPY model and curriculum. The Home Instruction for Parents of Preschool Youngsters (HIPPY) is, according to their website, “an evidenced-based program that works with families in the home to support parents in their critical role as their child's first and most important teacher”[1]The program follows a specific 30 week curriculum designed for children ages three to five.  This curriculum focuses on cognitive skill development, such as math and literacy, as well as social emotional development.

HIPPY at Clayton

The HIPPY program is no stranger to Clayton Early Learning’s campus.  Beginning in 1994, the model has been serving parents and children at Clayton for over 20 years.  At the time of publishing, 68 children currently benefit from this innovative home-based early learning program here at Clayton.  Nearly 90% of these children are identified as primary Spanish speakers. According to Michelle Mackin Brown, Team Lead of Family & Community Services at Clayton, participating families always express appreciation about the fact that the HIPPY curriculum is available bilingually in Spanish and English. Coupled with our bilingual home-based HIPPY staff, this allows the program to work seamlessly across varying demographics.

The model is adaptable not only across languages, but locations and settings as well. According to Michelle Makin Brown the activTalking-1-3ities included in the curriculum “can be done in the home, at the park, at the store and in the community throughout the week to support school readiness”.  This flexible approach allows parents to work with their children wherever they may be, bringing important early learning opportunities out of the classroom and into the community.

As previously mentioned, this curriculum is broken out across 30 weeks though at Clayton our home-based HIPPY program lasts 32 weeks. Each home visitor, or Child Family Educator (CFE), working with home-based HIPPY has a limited number of families on their caseload. Such small caseloads allow the CFEs to develop meaningful relationships with both the parent and child throughout their time in the program. During the 32 weeks, families participate in weekly 90 minute home-visits with their CFE to work on new aspects of the curriculum and check in on previous weeks’ goals and activities. In addition to these weekly visits, families come together twice a month for a socialization session. These group sessions are held on Clayton’s campus and offer a classroom experience for the children as well as the parents. During this classroom routine, children are able to socialize with each other and both the parents and children are exposed to social encounters and group learning activities. Transportation is provided to and from the group socializations. Although not required, some CFEs incorporate field trips into the program, bringing certain activities to new and exciting settings like the Denver Zoo.

 

How is it working?

In order to measure success and progress of the HIPPY program, it undergoes an evaluation process similar to that of Clayton’s center-based options. A combination of data from child assessments and parent interviews are analyzed every year in an effort to track the program’s findings.  According to the 2014-2015 Clayton Annual Evaluation Report, “Spanish-speaking HIPPY children tended to demonstrate strong receptive language skills and made statistically significant gain over time. By the end of the year, the majority of children scored in the average range or above.” Specifically, kindergarten-bound HIPPY children assessed in Spanish left the program with above average receptive language skills.

On a more anecdotal level, when asked how the home-based HIPPY program benefits families and children, had this to say:

“Parents become familiar with educational terms, important milestones for development, how to encourage language development and how to individualize for their child.  Families become more aware of their child’s interests, behaviors and learning.  Families have expressed that they have received positive feedback from elementary school staff about their child’s academic and social-emotional progress.”

A truly unique combination for both parent and child, Clayton home-based HIPPY continues to reach a wide audience across the Denver community. Here’s to 20 more years of bringing important early learning opportunities to families’ doorsteps!

 

For more information on the HIPPY program nationwide visit: www.hippyusa.org

For more information on the HIPPY program and other home-based services at Clayton Early Learning contact Tonya Young at tyoung@claytonearlylearning.org.

For more information on the HIPPY evaluation efforts contact Diana Mangels at dmangels@claytonearlylearning.org.

 

*Note: Clayton’s Head Start (HS) Home Based program follows the HIPPY curriculum with a few additional HS programming requirements. Based on HS requirements, these include an increased number of socializations (16 in total) and two additional weeks than the HIPPY curriculum (32, instead of 30).

The sample of English speaking children in the home-based HIPPY program was too small to permit valid statistical analysis. Therefore, data are reflective of Spanish speaking children only.

[1] www.hippyusa.org

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