Aboriginal HIPPY in Canada

Aboriginal Home Instruction for Parents of Preschool Youngsters (HIPPY), recognizes the power of the parent as a child’s first and best teacher. The Aboriginal HIPPY program serves land-based and urban Aboriginal families across the country, particularly those impacted by the legacy of residential schools, poverty, parents’ limited education, and social isolation.

Since 2002, Aboriginal HIPPY in Canada has had great success in indigenous Nations and communities, utilizing a culturally relevant curriculum to maximize the educational and holistic potential of Aboriginal children. Aboriginal HIPPY works with families and communities to build positive experiences in education and to strengthen their capacity to support learning. By strengthening families, we help build strong and vibrant Nations, family by family.



To achieve a thriving state of culturally responsive teaching and learning interactions, between Aboriginal children aged three to five years and their parents, caregivers, and extended family, that contributes to strengthening of Aboriginal communities and, ultimately, ongoing success in learning for Canada’s Aboriginal children.



To work efficiently and collaboratively with stakeholders to provide culturally competent, high-quality Aboriginal early childhood training and support to Aboriginal parents, caregivers, families and communities across Canada.

Principles and Values

  • Respect for Indigenous ways of knowing
  • Indigenous knowledge and learning as a foundation of our work
  • Trust to foster life-long learning rooted in Indigenous ways of knowing
  • Peaceful listening to support healthy dialogue and decision-making
  • Integrity of the Aboriginal process and decision- making
  • Operation as a community-driven organization
  • Cooperation through collaborative sharing, responsibility and partnering
  • Sustainability by responsible planning for future generations


The Need for Aboriginal HIPPY

Because the history of colonialism has affected Aboriginal families and communities in Canada, Aboriginal families have only cautiously received educational institutions and curriculum. Aboriginal HIPPY in Canada has created a setting for Aboriginal families to re-establish and embrace their traditional roles as parents and teachers of their children. As a community-driven and community-based organization, Aboriginal HIPPY is an expression of Aboriginal families’ and communities’ vision and strength to maintain deep cultural knowledge and passion by sharing teachings of their ancestors through its incorporation into education and learning. Aboriginal HIPPY provides the building blocks for Nation-building by teaching children while simultaneously empowering caregivers.

Face of Poverty: Statistics Canada Definition notes that the probability of living in poverty increases with less formal education. As poverty is integrally linked to low literacy, concerted effort must be directed toward increasing and improving education outcomes and decreasing high school drop-out rates for Aboriginal children.

Efforts to undo the negative impact of colonization, including residential school and child welfare practices, must be enhanced. Investing in increased education for children at a younger age, developing parenting skills, encouraging family success and reunifying families by arming mothers with skills and language that will assist the family in navigating the education system is an important step. Financial support and resources are necessary to support Aboriginal HIPPY’s work in delivering this program.

Overview of Aboriginal HIPPY


How HIPPY Works

  1. Aboriginal parents are hired and provided accredited training to deliver HIPPY in the home.
  2. Aboriginal families with children (3–5) are recruited by Home Visitors.
  3. Aboriginal families commit to participate for 30-40 weeks a year for a minimum of two years.
  4. Weekly home visits teach parents to deliver curriculum to their children through role-play.
  5. Home Visitor spends approximately 1.5 years with the parent each week.
  6. Each Home Visitor is employed by the community to work with 10-12 families.
  7. Aboriginal parents work 15-20 minutes a day with their child.
  8. All of the instructional materials are prepared at a grade 3 reading level.
  9. Aboriginal children graduate from the HIPPY program ready to start school.

Role play


Group Meetings

Group Meetings take place once a month and are an excellent opportunity to draw HIPPY parents from the safety of their home into a comfortable social setting that can support the healthy development of the family unit and reduce isolation.

Group meetings also provide an opportunity for cultural enrichment activities, developing relationships between parents, and a venue for professionals to join the group to provide information sessions on community services.
Group meeting:


Benefits of the Aboriginal HIPPY Program

As a cost-effective approach, the HIPPY model removes cultural and social barriers to participation for Aboriginal parents wanting educational enrichment for their preschool children. Supporting Aboriginal HIPPY’s efforts will contribute to:

  • Better health, social and educational outcomes for Aboriginal parents, decreasing long-term costs.
  • Increased skills in parenting offsetting colonization impacts.
  • Increased participation in the Canadian economy.


Measuring Success

Aboriginal HIPPY is an evidence-based program that utilizes a performance management system referred to as “Efforts To Outcomes”. This system consists of a framework of tools, processes and training to help Site Coordinators and Home Visitors record and assess their families’ progress, challenges and successes.

Mothers Matter Centre is a high-performance organization committed to a comprehensive performance management process (PMP) that holds itself accountable to its stakeholders, funders and, most important, to the families it serves. We have moved beyond counting outputs. We are all about change – about social impact – about ensuring the lives of the families with whom we work are, in fact, better than before we started working together. This tool gives Coordinators real-time data they need to adjust programming strategies to better serve their clients. Most important, the performance management approach helps Mothers Matter Centre measure and understand the process of change.


508-1190 Melville Street Vancouver, BC. Canada