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Indigenous HIPPY in Canada

Helping build strong and vibrant Indigenous Nations by strengthening Indigenous communities, family by family.

Indigenous HIPPY works with Indigenous families and communities to build positive experiences in education and to strengthen their capacity to support learning. The program serves land-based and urban Indigenous families across the country, particularly those impacted by the legacy of residential schools, poverty, parents’ limited education, and social isolation.

Since 2002, Indigenous 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 Indigenous children.

The Assembly of First Nations (AFN) recognizes Indigenous HIPPY’s role in revitalizing traditional parent and caregiver roles as their child’s first and best teacher and in ensuring the success of Indigenous teachings to the next generation.

Our Mission

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


Principle & Values

  • 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 Indigenous HIPPY

Because the history of colonialism has affected Indigenous families and communities in Canada, Indigenous families have only cautiously received educational institutions and curriculum.

The probability of living in poverty increases with less formal education. As poverty is integrally linked to low literacy, a concerted effort must be directed toward increasing and improving education outcomes and decreasing high school drop-out rates for Indigenous children. And, efforts to undo the negative impact of colonization, including residential school and child welfare practices, must be enhanced.

Indigenous HIPPY has created a setting for Indigenous families to re-establish and embrace their traditional roles as parents and teachers of their children. As a community-driven and community-based organization, Indigenous HIPPY is an expression of Indigenous 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. Indigenous HIPPY provides the building blocks for Nation-building by teaching children while simultaneously empowering caregivers.

How HIPPY Works

01. Indigenous parents are hired and provided accredited training to deliver HIPPY in the home.

02. Indigenous families with children (3–5) are recruited by Home Visitors.

03. Indigenous families commit to participate for 30-40 weeks a year for a minimum of two years.

04. Weekly home visits teach parents to deliver curriculum to their children through role-play.

05. Home Visitors spends approximately 1.5 hours with the parent each week.

06. Each Home Visitor is employed by the community to work with 10-12 families.

07. Indigenous parents work 15-20 minutes a day with their child.

08. All of the instructional materials are prepared at a grade 3 reading level.

09. Indigenous children graduate from the HIPPY program ready to start school.

Benefits of the Indigenous HIPPY program

As a cost-effective approach, the HIPPY model removes cultural and social barriers to participation for Indigenous parents wanting educational enrichment for their preschool children. Supporting Indigenous 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

Indigenous 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.

The 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.

HIPPY Children Demonstrate:

  • Improved academic performance in comparison to similarly situated children with positive outcomes for school readiness, reading ability, and school behaviour.

  • Improved school readiness skills, school performance, English skills, self-esteem, and self-confidence.

HIPPY Mothers Report:

  • Improved parent-child relationships, greater self-confidence, reduced isolation, and improved opportunities for expanding social networks and social support.

  • Acquisition of skills necessary to work with their children, confidence in their role as their child’s teacher, improved language skills, greater participation in their children’s school, and more time spent with their children on learning activities.

HIPPY Home Visitors Benefit From:

  • Employment (often first-time) for mothers who typically experience multiple employment barriers.

  • Workplace training on HIPPY curriculum, community resource network systems, rights and responsibilities of Canadian citizenship, and employment skills.

  • Goal-setting and job-search support to transition Home Visitors to other jobs and / or higher education following their three-year work / learn position.

  • Home Visitors, once isolated mothers, are now highly employable members of society who contribute to the economic well-being of their families and communities.

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