Gayan Jaysiri started as a HIPPY dad with his first child, Kiera. Delighted with how well it prepared her for primary school, it was an easy decision to enroll his second child, Mika. He wants more people to know how HIPPY empowers parents to prepare their children for success in education.

Back in 2020 Gayan was working as a site supervisor for a construction company. However, the first COVID lockdown forced changes with wife, Kirsty, going back to full-time nursing and Gayan becoming the main caregiver for their two daughters.

As first-generation migrants, Gayan says they don’t have the same level of family support around them. Kiera was going to an early childhood centre which was helping with her social skills, but he wanted more one-on-one learning to help her with core writing, numbers and reading. When he heard HIPPY could help him teach her at home, he signed up.

Gayan admits the first four months of the programme were hard for him. HIPPY teaches parents how to use positive reinforcement and he says it was tough learning not to say ‘No’ all the time. However, having a script to follow and weekly meetings with his HIPPY tutor, Ada, to roleplay HIPPY workbooks was encouraging.

By using HIPPY as the primary way of teaching, Gayan found it reinforced what Kiera was learning at her early learning centre. He says it also helped him grow in confidence as a parent. “The weekly meetings with Ada gave me reassurance that I was on the right track.” He says he also found the monthly meetings with other HIPPY parents good for seeing how other parents do it and networking in his local community.

Kiera started primary school in July 2022 and transitioned well into Year 0. Gayan credits HIPPY with helping her develop the foundations of early learning and excelling in all her class activities, particularly writing and reading. The school has also been impressed with her skills, moving her into a Year 2 class this year. Ada says, “I’m glad to have helped Kiera become a successful learner. Every time Gayan tells me about her success at school I realise how important my role is. I love my job.”

Gayan says with Kiera’s success at school it was an easy decision to enroll Mika in HIPPY and he thought it would be easy to teach her, having already been through the programme. What he found quickly was that every child learns different skills at different rates and in different ways. Ada explained that Kiera was focused and easy to teach. “Mika is totally opposite. She enjoys doing activities involving moving around but couldn’t sit down for more than 10 minutes.”

A strength of HIPPY is that it adapts to different learning styles. Ada has been able to show Gayan different ways to teach Mika with the same workbooks. And the results are starting to show. Gayan has seen a change in Mika’s attitude since she started HIPPY. The regular routine he has for Mika of HIPPY, dinner, and bed has helped her calm down and listen to instructions – something her early learning centre has noticed too. 

Gayan says HIPPY has helped him become better at parenting and seeing each child as an individual. “I found a way to be more patient, reading about HIPPY and understanding a little about the way my kids learn gives me great joy as I see them achieve milestones.”