Breaking down barriers to learning

Breaking down barriers to learning

Life Without Barriers’ HIPPY program is preparing parents and little ones for school, boosting numeracy, literacy and self-confidence.

The Home Interaction Program for Parents and Youngsters (HIPPY) has been running for about seven years at Deception Bay.

It is a free two-year, home-tutoring program which helps build parent or carer confidence as their child’s first teacher.

Through free activity packs, as well as visits from a trained tutor, the program provides the tools families need to learn and play.

The packs support learning in the following areas: thinking and exploring; communication; creativity; social and emotional; family and community.

HIPPY Co-ordinator Deception Bay Rycille Tighe says mentors work with families and children aged three to four years.

“We aim to make parents their child’s first teacher through fun and engaging literacy and numeracy activities,” she says.

The activities are simple yet effective and only take a few minutes to complete.

“It’s everywhere learning. You could be driving, walking or at the shops,” she says.

It could be counting apples, looking for square shaped objects in a landscape or finding letters in signs at the shop. The aim is to foster early maths and letter recognition.

“It builds confidence with the parent and the child before they enter into Prep,” she says.

Circular approach

Tutors are parents who are also taking part in HIPPY with their child or have recently graduated from the program.

The team will this year include Cait Michels, whose daughter Mackenzie has graduated the program and began Prep this week.

“If parents feel they have the capability, we upskill them to apply for a position,” Cait says.

It is a paid, part-time position which works in well with school hours.

“We mentor them and show them what work/life looks like,” she says.

HIPPY will also work with mentors to help them identify further study opportunities and career goals.

Cait says she is keen to eventually work as a teacher aid for children with special needs.

She says being part of the HIPPY program has helped her get to know other families in the community and boosted hers and Mackenzie’s self-confidence.

“This has helped her have a love of learning, so now she wants to do it all the time,” she says.

Mackenzie knows her 1x tables and also completes workbooks with her older siblings and a neighbour.

Every month participants of the program meet, giving parents and children the opportunity to build relationships with their peers and take part in workshops. Topics covered include nutrition, budgeting and yoga/mindfulness.

Some lasting friendships have evolved and Cait says four families are sending their children to the same school this year.

Enrolments for the program are open now. For more information, visit, phone Ms Tighe on 0491 229 718 or email

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