Multicultural HIPPY in Canada

|Helping isolated immigrant and refugee women and their children achieve their full potential and lead enriched lives.

The Multicultural HIPPY program addresses many issues that immigrants and refugees confront when they arrive in their new country. These include language and cultural barriers, low levels of literacy, professional accreditation issues, and limited awareness of various democratic processes and societal practices.

The Multicultural HIPPY Program was developed to support the mother as the first and most important teacher of her child. HIPPY provides newcomers with information that helps reduce language and cultural barriers, helps inform participants of other services in the community, raises awareness of “how things work” in Canada, and encourages newcomers to actively participate in the community and in the school.

The HIPPY program hires current and past mothers in the program as Home Visitors. They are often from the same community and reach out to the isolated mothers in their own homes. They provide practical information and structured lessons that enable the newcomers to gain confidence in their own capacity to help prepare their children for entering school. Many Home Visitors report that this was their first job in Canada. As a result of participating in the program, many HIPPY parents report that they have decided to go to school themselves to achieve literacy or career goals.

Our Mission

To build a stronger and more competitive Canada by providing isolated mothers with essential skills training and work-learn jobs; developing their capacity to support their children’s success in school and helping them build bridges to social networks and organizations.

Principle & Values

  • Mothers can teach other mothers, thus employing mothers as Home Visitors
  • Mothers can teach their children – mothers spend 15 -20 mins. a day teaching the HIPPY materials to their children and they are empowered to view themselves as the first and best teachers of their children
  • All children can learn – HIPPY prepares children to enter school ready to succeed
  • Improving the early school experiences among children from educationally and economically disadvantaged backgrounds and encouraging educational interaction between mothers and their children
  • Creating an educational environment in the home that encourages literacy and supports the child throughout her educational life
  • Fostering parental involvement in school and community life, thus breaking through the social isolation of mothers
  • Helping Home Visitors develop skills and work experience needed to compete successfully for other jobs in local labour markets.
  • Establishing collaborative partnerships with other human service organizations in order to ensure optimal service delivery for participating families.
  • Families are healthier when they are connected to the community and other parents

How HIPPY Works

The core of the HIPPY program is a structured home visit. Home Visitors help mothers in their homes, where friendships develop, support is provided, and a wide variety of skills are advanced. Together, bridges are built from the home to the larger community - the key to ending isolation.

Home Visitors, graduates of the HIPPY program, are hired and trained to visit mothers in their homes. They reach out to isolated mothers and support them, one-on-one, by transforming the home environment into a place of rich learning opportunities. As a community member, the Home Visitor knows the language, lives the culture, and has faced the same challenges as the families with whom she works.

The Home Visitor delivers a curriculum based on the needs of children to become school-ready. The curriculum consists of nine storybooks, 30 weekly activity packages, and basic supplies such as geometric shapes, scissors, and crayons for each year in the program. The activities guide parents in a process of engaging with their children using structured lessons that will ensure children’s school readiness skills, including: language development, perceptual and sensory discrimination, logical thinking, and problem-solving.

The Home Visitors meet with the mother on a weekly basis, role-playing all the activities in the weekly packet. After the mother is comfortable with the material, she is encouraged to work through the packet five days a week for 15 to 20 minutes with her children.

Measuring Success

Multicultural 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.

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.

If you would like more information, please contact our Director of Multicultural HIPPY:

Wazi Kapenda
Phone: 604.428.3256
Email: wkapenda@hippycanada.ca

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