Establishing a HIPPY Programme

  • It has been identified by the Ministries of Education and Social Development that HIPPY would benefit young children and their families in your community, and you have been approached to be the provider. Before making your decision to be a HIPPY provider there are some important considerations for your organisation and community.
  • A well-functioning HIPPY programme is developed through strong grass roots community relations.  Experience has shown that this process of consultation greatly influences the quality of the HIPPY programme established. 
  • For this reason a set of guidelines has been developed to guide prospective providers and their local communities through the process of starting a HIPPY programme.

The following is an overview of the necessary steps toward local implementation of the HIPPY programme:

Examine needs

Completing a basic needs assessment of the community is an important process. This need not be a rigorous study requiring intensive interviewing and data analysis.  However, to ensure HIPPY will be accepted in the community various community service agencies or community representatives may need to be contacted.

This overview of community needs may include: 

  1. An in-depth look at the community (demographic trends, ethnic and cultural groups, population size and the number of children under five years of age).
  2. Outline of community characteristics (central institutions such as churches, Iwi, social services, schools and their decile rating, early childhood centres), current educational or political trends or events, strengths of the community.
  3. Specific facts (average income level, percentage of children attending preschool facilities, percentage of children in special education classes, high school retention rates).
  4. Information regarding other existing programmes and the feasibility of introducing HIPPY:
  • Does HIPPY complement or compete with other programmes? 
  • How could HIPPY work with such other programmes?
  • Is there general support from the educational community?
  • Reactions of representatives from other programmes to HIPPY? 
  • Which programmes or services reach families with young children in the target population?
  • Does the community want the programme?
  • Can the programme requirements be met?
  • Is there capacity to raise a 15% funding shortfall?

A general statement based on the above information can be used as one of the several criteria to determine whether HIPPY can be implemented in your community.

Statistical information about your community is available by searching           
Census:  Community profiles

Review programme requirements

While each local HIPPY programme assumes its own characteristics, there are several core components to the HIPPY programme. These elements need to be carefully considered during the decision making process as there is little room for variation here.   

a) Programme population:

  • A HIPPY programme should have 40 whānau/families in the first year, and the capacity to grow to 60 families over four years. The maximum number of whānau/families in any one site is 60.
  • Participants, ideally, are selected from a contained geographic area. In rural communities clusters of about 10 whānau/families may come from several different communities and still be a part of one programme.  However, it is recommended that HIPPY be viewed as part of a specified community.
  • All children are to be a minimum of 3½ years old when beginning HIPPY and, therefore, enter Year 0/1 of primary school during their second year of HIPPY.
  • Full consideration must be given to the language/s spoken and read in the whānau/ families.
  • Whānau/families are primarily low SES and children are at risk of being educationally disadvantaged.

(b) Location:

 A HIPPY programme can operate in a suitable location that can offer:

  • An office for the coordinator, and secure storage space for HIPPY materials and records.
  • An appropriate area for training 3 – 4 tutors.
  • A suitable meeting place for the parents’ group meetings and a play group for the children. 

(c) Programme duration:

  • HIPPY is a two-year programme, for parents with children ages 3 ½ to six years old, emphasising the importance of the role of parents in a child’s early learning and transition from preschool to primary school.
  • In each of the two years there are thirty weeks of activities for parents and children, which are scheduled to coincide roughly with the school year.
  • Children may not begin the programme in the second year since the second year of the programme builds on the first year curriculum.

(d)  Programme Coordinator:

  • Each new programme needs one full-time professional coordinator.
  • The coordinator will be tertiary qualified and have a background in early childhood education, primary school teaching, adult education or a relevant social service.
  • The coordinator is selected in agreement with the National Director of HIPPY New Zealand, who will be on the interview panel.
  • The coordinator is required to successfully complete the pre-service HIPPY training, provided by HIPPY New Zealand at Great Potentials Foundation in Auckland, before starting a new programme.

(e)  Paraprofessional Tutors:

  • Paraprofessional home visitors (or Tutors), who are parents from the community being served, are trained for a minimum of three hours per week, to deliver the HIPPY workbooks and materials to the parents every week.
  • Paraprofessional tutors are crucial to the design and success of HIPPY.  Their appreciation for, and knowledge of their community allows them to develop trust with participant whānau and to present the curriculum in a culturally relevant and appropriate manner.
  • Each tutor works with 10 – 12 families in their first year as a tutor and with no more than 18 families in their second year.
  • They must be recruited from the community and be eligible for, and enrolled in (or have recently completed), the HIPPY programme.
  • A tutor can remain in the position for two years. During this time the tutors gain skills to prepare them for other employment or study, so they can move on and make room for other parents to take on the role of tutor.
  • Tutors are expected to attend two-days Regional Training at the beginning of both years’ employment.  The cost of attendance is covered by the programme provider.

(f)  Method of instruction:

  • The HIPPY activities are role-played between the paraprofessional tutor and the parent. This takes an hour every week and prepares the parent to teach the activities to the child.
  • The parent works on two activities with the child each day. This will take 15 minutes per day, for five days a week, for 30 weeks a year, for two years.

(g)  Method of programme delivery to parents:

  • Home visits are made to each parent on alternate weeks by their tutor.
  • On the other week, the parents meet with their tutor and the coordinator in a group, usually referred to as a Group Meeting.
  • A convenient place needs to be available for the Group Meetings in each community. The place chosen needs to be one in which the parents feel welcome and comfortable.
  • Arrangements need to be put in place to care for the children who come to the group meeting with their parents.
  • Transport may need to be provided for some parents.

(h)  Support / Advisory group:

  • Every HIPPY programme needs a support / advisory group, established to guide its growth and development and its ongoing service to the community.
  • This group may be part of the local HIPPY management structure of the provider organisation, or may be external to it.

(i)  Research and evaluation:

  • In order to demonstrate the effectiveness of the HIPPY programme and to guide its continued development, all programmes are required to complete various report forms and to keep careful records of programme developments.
  • In addition, some programmes may decide to be part of research undertaken by a local university or research institute.

(j)  Programme costs:

  • The major budgetary item is salaries and wages for the coordinator and the paraprofessional tutors.
  • Other costs include: Materials, training, support and assistance fees, and travel to national and regional training and support meetings.
  • HIPPY workbooks and storybooks are purchased from Great Potentials Foundation once a contract has been signed with Great Potentials Foundation.

A budget can be made available on request by contacting Jane Hall, National Director of HIPPY New Zealand. Amounts, other than for salaries and wages, will vary according to the location of each programme, and number of families participating.

Formalise intent to HIPPY New Zealand at Great Potentials

  • If your organisation is committed to starting a HIPPY programme notify your intent in writing to Great Potentials, indicating the steps which have been taken to initiate HIPPY in the community.
  • Include a breakdown of funding sources and verification of the available funding sources for at least two years.

Sign contract

  • Every community that has committed to implement the HIPPY model is required to enter into a Sub-licence Agreement and a Funding Agreement with Great Potentials Foundation, which holds the licence for HIPPY in New Zealand.
  • This agreement spells out the conditions under which the HIPPY name, logo and HIPPY materials can be used, and provides the local community with the exclusive right to implement the HIPPY programme in the programme community, as defined in the agreement.

Select Coordinator

  • When the contract has been signed, the programme coordinator can be selected.
  • This is done in consultation with the National Director of HIPPY New Zealand, who will be on the appointment panel.