On Monday, November 4 an energized group of young people graduated from their two-year Home Interaction Program for Parents and Youngsters (HIPPY) journey.
The graduation was held at The Middleback Theatre and the children and their families had an amazing time with the help of graduation gowns, medals and cake.
HIPPY is a home-based program which encourages and empowers parents and carers to be their children's first teacher and help prepare them for school.
HIPPY provides a dedicated home tutor that works with each family as it completes the program.
HIPPY increases the chances of positive early learning experiences for parents and children and a love of learning, exploring and trying new things.
As the name suggests, HIPPY is about parent and child interacting within their home and everyday life to learn and explore new things. This interaction helps to maximise a child's chances of enjoying and succeeding at school.
HIPPY Program Coordinator for Whyalla Kerry Guthleben said the program is a great opportunity for Whyalla families and has grown from strength to strength since it first began nine years ago.
"Within the framework of the HIPPY program, we employ home tutors from the pool of parents whom enroll in the program," Ms Guthleben said.
"This is a great opportunity to work at a well established organisation in county South Australia and provides a chance to learn new and exciting job skills.
As a part of the program, a HIPPY tutor makes 50 minute fortnightly home visits to work with the parent over two years.
The Home Tutor works with the parent to help them understand the work books and then the parent completes the workbooks with their child during the week.
"On the other week of the fortnight, we run a parent group that is designed to help parents to interact with other people in their community and share common experiences," Ms Guthleben said.
"These parent groups are designed to be light and fun for both parents and children."
HIPPY runs for approximately 35 weeks of each year, generally only during school terms.
Ms Guthleben said the program is not only beneficial to the children but to the parents as well.
"HIPPY gives parents and carers the opportunity to enjoy positive time with their children and be actively involved in their children's education," she said.
"There is no cost for the families involved and it creates a great learning environment at home."
HIPPY is a service that is provided free of charge and funded by The Australian Government with The Brotherhood of St Laurence holding the license to operate in Australia.
Families receive all program materials from weekly work books, to paper, pencils and scissors free of charge.
The graduation ceremony on Monday saw 17 children receive medallions and certificates for their efforts over the last two years, while parents were given scrapbooks of their child's work.
Ms Guthleben said she was thrilled by the success of the program now having completed its ninth graduation year and was proud to see all the participants graduate.
"For the last two years parents have committed to home visits, participating in parent groups and enjoying activities with their children," she said.
"They should be very proud of their wonderful achievements. I wish all of our HIPPY families' great success in the future."
If you have a child that is turning four and starting kindy in 2020 and you are interested in joining the program, please contact Kerry Guthleben at Uniting Country SA on 8649 0811 to register or for further information.