Four-year-old Tohu lives with his dad in Huntly, and together, they have almost completed the second year of the HIPPY programme. Tohu starts school soon and his dad, Rhys, couldn’t be prouder of what they have achieved on their learning journey with HIPPY.

Tohu enjoying the HIPPY activities

Tohu suffered from a serious illness in his earlier years, which impacted his developmental growth. Rhys was already actively involved in his children’s learning, but when he heard about HIPPY through word of mouth in the community and from nieces and nephews who had completed the programme, he was excited to enrol his son.

When the pair began in 2022 it wasn’t easy for either of them. Rhys wasn’t confident with his delivery of the HIPPY programme and Tohu struggled to communicate when they were doing HIPPY work. He wouldn’t answer questions, count, or point out pictures.

Fortunately, with encouragement and positive guidance from weekly visits from the HIPPY tutor Alesha, they started to make progress. Alongside Rhys growing confidence in the delivery of the weekly workbooks, Tohu absolutely flourished. He can now write his name, count, and identify numerals up to ten, recall events from HIPPY stories and express his ideas and thoughts clearly.

Rhys says, "Having all the resources provided and explained by Alesha is helpful for expanding Tohu’s learning. Being able to deliver the programme at home makes it convenient and easy to kick off where we left off and go at our own pace.

HIPPY has not only supported Tohu’s developmental growth but also his confidence. HIPPY tutor Alesha says it has been rewarding and validating to see and hear Tohu’s progress in delivery updates with Rhys. She says, "Rhys has shown me that there are opportunities to learn everywhere in everyday activities. HIPPY has also given Rhys the opportunity to expand his thinking and incorporate more learning activities for all his children.”


HIPPY (Home Interaction Programme for Parents and Youngers) is a home-based programme that empowers parents to support their 2-5-year-old child for life-long learning. HIPPY is available in 28 communities across New Zealand.