Auckland may have just gone into the second lockdown when the new HIPPY Coordinator for Henderson South, Christine Wang, started, but she didn’t let that stop her from diving right in.

Wang says, “During that time I started the Facebook page but I didn’t have lots to post yet. During the last school holidays, I did some home visits and delivered workbooks to families who wanted to catch up, and it was nice to visit them in person.“

Christine Wang and colleague, Tina, promoting HIPPY at the Library
After finally getting to meet her two tutors in person, when Auckland went to Alert Level 2.5, the team did mailbox drop-offs and workbook role-plays online or over the phone.

A natural networker, Wang felt like her job did not fully start until the beginning of Term 4 when she went to Henderson Primary School and connected with their school social worker, Patricia Ramo. Ramo was impressed with HIPPY and invited Wang to join the West Auckland Social Workers’ meetings. She also helped Wang connect with the Principals from Henderson Primary and Henderson North Primary School.

“Being able to be out and about was such a great feeling and it was awesome to meet people with the same passion! From that day I started meeting some school new entrant teachers, doing home visits with my tutors, connecting with other organisations, visiting local kindergartens, and hosting group meetings.

“Being able to do all of that gave me lots to post on social media.  The photos and videos of real people have got the power of attracting an audience. I have been sharing posts on local community pages to reach more people and it works like magic. One post of a child holding his HIPPY box reached over 800 people overnight.”

HIPPY stand at the Henderson LibrarySince then enrolments have started rolling in. Wang gets messages on social media almost every day – she has even started a waiting list for one-year-olds so she can contact the parents when their child is approaching enrolment age.

Being an early childhood teacher and a mother of two beautiful girls herself has given Wang a deep understanding of how children benefit from learning at a young age with parents as their best first teachers.

“HIPPY coordinator is the perfect role as I get to put my passion for education and community service together into my everyday work. Although I had a rough start due to Covid I am glad that things are on the right track now. I have really appreciated the support from Great Potentials, my boss at MPHS, Lil Clark, who is just a phone call away, and my two amazing tutors. I wouldn’t be where I am now without them! I really enjoy being a Hippy Coordinator and I am looking forward to more adventures to come.”

In the Photos: Wang's work colleague held a Bat-themed party at the Henderson Library so she went along and set up a little HIPPY table to help promote the programme.