5 January, 2014
The Home Interaction Program for Parents and Youngsters (HIPPY) program "worked such a treat" on her own daughter, Belinda Ryan jumped at the chance to work as a home tutor.
Fast forward to last month and Ms Ryan was on hand as 20 children along with their families graduated from the two-year HIPPY program.
The program operating from Barnardos Children's Family Centre in Warrawong, supports families with young children living in Warrawong, Berkeley, Lake Heights, Port Kembla, Cringila and Primbee.
Ms Ryan said HIPPY supported parents to be the first teachers of their child, and gives children the extra confidence they need to be successful when they start school.
"I first did it with my daughter Kelly who is 8½. She's autistic so she needed extra help," she said.
"She was looking at going to a special needs school. I did HIPPY with her for two years at home which helped her greatly and she now goes to mainstream school without an aide."
Ms Ryan then did the program with her son Oscar before she became one of five parents Barnardos employed in the Warrawong area to work as HIPPY home tutors.
As part of the home-based parenting and early childhood program for parents and their four to five-year-old children, home tutors help parents and children complete activities together as part of the family's daily routine.
By supporting parents and carers to create an active learning environment at home, HIPPY aims to give children in Warrawong and surrounding suburbs the best possible start to their formal education.
HIPPY Warrawong have received an additional two years of funding.
(This article was first published in the Illararra Mercury and was written by Agron Latifi.)