Wednesday the 8th of November, 2022, made for a very special day for HIPPY Goodna Parents and Youngsters. It was time for the HIPPY participants to graduate. The graduation was a special occasion for those involved, a time to celebrate children now ready for the big step – prep! Parents, grandparents, siblings, facilitators and coordinators came together for the memorable event.
“Graduation is always an incredible opportunity to celebrate the two-year journey we have taken alongside our HIPPY families. It was uplifting to see so many parents and grandparents joining in to acknowledge the effort and opportunities of the children and HIPPY parents. Thanks to the HIPPY tutors for their amazing work through the year with families, as well as the support for our graduation event.”
Rebecca Belcher (HIPPY Coordinator)
HIPPY – the Home Interaction Program for Parents and Youngsters, is a structured educational program. It supports the primary caregiver as the child’s first teacher by providing resources and assistance to help ready children for future education. It is not just about preparing children for school – it’s about creating a foundation that will encourage lifelong learning.
The HIPPY team spends an hour every week with each caregiver to practise and develop activities that can be done at home and come together each fortnight to connect. HIPPY supports parents to care for the child, and is therefore flexible with the home routine, and committed to building community.
Play Matters Australia partners with the Brotherhood of St Laurence to deliver the HIPPY program in Goodna, Queensland.
“The Hippy Australia program, delivered by our Play Matters Australia team and tutors here in Goodna is an incredibly successful, beloved program. … The program supports children getting ready for school and sets them up for a great start in life which evidence shows has life-long positive impacts. The graduation is a beautiful celebration of the effort and commitment of parents, carers, families, tutors, staff and most importantly the children themselves!”
Kirsty Dixon (Chief Executive Officer, Play Matters)
Graduation day invited all with a welcoming atmosphere. Children could be seen instigating their own play and creating and learning through social interactions amongst peers and with their parents, grandparents and siblings.
Children donned hats and gowns for the occasion and one by one were presented with their certificate of graduation, as well as a giftbag. Rebecca Belcher, HIPPY coordinator, and Kirsty Dixon, Play Matters CEO, facilitated the handing of the certificates to the graduates. Many cheers, smiles and applause rang through the hall. What set aside this graduation from many others is the presentation of certificates for the caregivers of the children as well. HIPPY recognizes parents and guardians as a child’s first teachers, and the philosophy of the HIPPY program shined through in this moment.
Children gathered round and participated in the cutting of their graduation cake after certificates were handed out. Families and friends shared food and laughter. A long line stretched out from the facepainting stall, right until the entertainment arrived. A gathering of children at the edge of their seats sat before a man in a bright shirt and bowler hat. The peals of laughter could barely be tempered.
"I've seen my son learn and grow so much since starting HIPPY and have a head start with learning at school. Something I didn't expect was being a better teacher and parent at home through the things I've learned at HIPPY ... The positivity is felt strongly and it's inspiring."
The graduates have reached the end of the HIPPY program. On this day, they celebrated everyone, the accomplishments of children and parents, and the community found here.