Education Home Visiting Expands in Florida
Innovative Program that Connects Trained Educators to At-Risk Families to Nearly Double in Florida
Home Instruction for Parents of Preschool Youngsters Aims to Improve Reading, Math Skills for 3-to-5 Year Olds
TAMPA, Fla.—Oct. 14, 2014—An evidence-based education initiative that already operates in 11 communities throughout Florida will soon add 10 more counties, thanks to an increase in state funding.
Home Instruction for Parents of Preschool Youngsters (www.hippyusa.org) is a non-profit that helps underserved families prepare their children for success in school and offers the service at no charge.
The new programs are located in the following counties: Escambia, Franklin, Gadsden, Hamilton, Hardee, Madison, Miami-Dade, Putnam, Wakulla and Washington.
Parents in these communities will be able to request extra help assisting their young children with reading and math lessons. Then, HIPPY will provide books, learning activities and training to support them.
Independent research shows that HIPPY increases student achievement scores and makes families stronger. This also provides a return-on-investment, because 3-to-5 year olds in the program will need fewer remedial services as they go through the education system.
The Florida Department of Education’s Office of Early Learning has allocated $2.5 million for the HIPPY expansion in 2014–15 in addition to $1.4 million for existing program sites.
“Parents are their child’s first teacher, so giving them the tools, skills and confidence they need to work with their children in the home makes sense,” says Shan Goff, executive director of the Office of Early Learning, Florida Department of Education. “HIPPY has been helping us do that in Florida since 1997. The program works, and we are pleased to be able to expand it to other counties.”
The counties were selected for the program expansion based on these factors: geographical areas where children scored below 70 percent on the Early Childhood Observation System and Florida Assessments for Instruction in Reading, counties without an existing HIPPY program and counties located in “high-need” areas.
“Florida has made a very smart decision to invest in a program that has a legacy of bringing results to its taxpayers,” says Linda Frank, board chair, HIPPY USA. “America is falling behind in the education race, and experts say it’s a threat to our economy. HIPPY is an important way to help prepare Florida for the future.”
In the HIPPY model, community-based home visitors meet with parents in their homes to share books and early education learning activities one hour a week for 30 weeks per program year. Parents then spend time each day with their children using the HIPPY books and activity packets. In addition to home visits, programs also have regularly scheduled parent group meetings.
Additional HIPPY programs started this fall in Nevada, North Carolina and Texas.
Dr. Avima Lombard developed HIPPY in Israel in 1969 as a way to help immigrants and their children adjust to their new lives. It is currently implemented in 10 countries.
Home Instruction for Parents of Preschool Youngsters USA programs (www.hippyusa.org) focus on family literacy, school readiness and parent involvement. HIPPY helps parents prepare their preschool children to succeed in school. Currently, HIPPY serves more than 15,000 families in almost 140 communities across the country.