Changing children’s trajectories: results of the HIPPY Longitudinal Study
The most comprehensive study to date has investigated the impact of the Home Interaction Program for Parents and Youngsters (HIPPY) on the Australian children and parents who take part.
At a glance
The Home Interaction Program for Parents and Youngsters (HIPPY) is an early learning and parenting program targeting four and five-year-old children in low-income households. It provides parents with the confidence, knowledge and tools to support their child's education and helps them create a home learning environment. Doing HIPPY improves their child's school readiness and parent–child relationships.
Key findings include:
- Not only did parents enjoy the program; they transformed the home learning environment and spent more time on learning activities with their children.
- At commencement, HIPPY children on average scored below the Australian mean on a test of literacy and numeracy.
After completing HIPPY, children’s average score was above the relevant Australian mean.
- Their improvement suggests HIPPY leads to a changed learning trajectory for children, not just a developmental gain that might be expected with age.
- In this way HIPPY works to redress the negative impact of poverty and financial hardship on child development.
Delivered in over 100 Australian communities facing socioeconomic disadvantage, HIPPY is an integrated parenting support and early learning program that works to increase parents’ confidence as their child’s first teacher and to reconfigure the home learning environment in order to improve children’s school readiness.
The HIPPY Longitudinal Study found a strong theoretical and empirical foundation for the program design. Parents were successfully engaged, indicating high levels of satisfaction with key aspects of the program. They actively reconfigured the home learning environment using HIPPY’s distinctive pedagogical practices and activities. Attending HIPPY group meetings helped parents improve their child learning outcomes.
Close to program commencement, the average performance of HIPPY children on a test of literacy and numeracy skills was below the Australian mean. After completing HIPPY, on average, HIPPY children performed above the relevant Australian mean. This suggests a changed learning trajectory, not just a developmental gain, indicating that HIPPY works to redress the negative impact of poverty and financial hardship on child development.
The HLS also revealed a subset of families who face additional challenges owing to their complex circumstances. This suggests opportunities for adaptation and extra support during the transition to school.
Last updated on 15 February 2021
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