1 May 2014

Hillary Clinton says she's honoured to be a HIPPY mum, and soon to be HIPPY grandma.

Clinton made the remarks on Monday night as part of her keynote speech at the 25th anniversary of HIPPY USA in Washington D.C., where she spoke about the value of the Home Improvement Program for Parents and Youngsters (HIPPY) in supporting families and helping children prepare for school. “Early childhood education from cradle to kindergarten really works,” Clinton said. “The bonds that you strengthen between parents and children ripple out through communities.

”HIPPY is a highly successful two-year, home-based tutoring program that supports parents in disadvantaged communities prepare their children for the transition to school. Families take part during the year before school and then during their child's first year at school.

In Australia, HIPPY operates in 75 communities across the country, and is managed by the Brotherhood of St Laurence with funding from the Australian Government. The program is doubling in size, with 25 new sites opening earlier this year, and another 25 due to start up in 2015. The focus on the expansion has been on taking HIPPY to communities with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander families.

Australian research has shown that the program has outstanding results. Children who take part in HIPPY generally begin the program with numeracy and literacy skills around 30 per cent behind the Australian average, but after two years they have caught up, and their cognitive skills equal that of other children. "We know that HIPPY works because it works closely with parents and carers and supports them to be their child's first teacher," said HIPPY Australia National Manager, Marian Pettit.

"As Hillary says, the evidence is compelling: HIPPY has long lasting benefits for children, families and communities.

"Clinton has been a strong ambassador for HIPPY, an international program that originated in Israel in the 1960s, since helping introduce it to the US more than 25 years ago.

More information on HIPPY in Australia is available at