Congratulations to the sixty-six preschoolers who graduated from Milwaukee’s HIPPY program on Saturday, May 12th! HIPPY (Home Instruction for Parents of Preschool Youngsters) is an internationally renowned early literacy and parental engagement program that prepares children ages 3-5 for success when they enter school.
Member of the National Council of Jewish Women (NCJW) Milwaukee and chair of the HIPPY USA National Board of Trustees, Marjorie Margolies, hosted the cheerful event. Parents and their children graced the stage in a ceremony that marked their completion of the third and final year of the program. There were five photo booths that captured the proud parents with their mini-graduates. The event also featured a wonderful performance by local African dance and drumming troupe, ONFYAH. According to COA’s HIPPY Director, Jessica Namaste, “ONFYAH was amazing. They had kids come on stage and sing and dance. It was really energetic.”
HIPPY serves parents with children ages 3-5. Parents enrolled in HIPPY welcome a peer mentor into their homes each week to role play early learning activities with them and to support each family throughout the program. Through HIPPY, parents receive storybooks and learning activities that they can use with their kids right in the home. Parents become their child’s first and most important teacher.
The HIPPY graduation gives children and their parents a chance to celebrate their success together. “It recognizes their accomplishments,” says Jessica. “They were very proud and excited. The parents get a certificate as well, since they put in the work for these three years. Parents are deserving, too. They appreciate being recognized for their hard work.”
About 300 families benefit each year from the free HIPPY program, the majority of which live in some of the lowest income zip codes in Milwaukee.
Nationally, HIPPY serves approximately 16,000 families annually in more than 20 states and the District of Columbia. Research shows that HIPPY improves school readiness, standardized test scores, academic performance, classroom behavior, school attendance, and parental involvement.
Now in its twentieth year in Milwaukee, HIPPY began at COA in 1998 in partnership with National Council of Jewish Women – Milwaukee Section, which continues to support the program. About 300 families benefit each year from the free HIPPY program, the majority of which live in some of the lowest income zip codes in Milwaukee. COA is confident that this HIPPY graduation is just the first of what will surely be many graduations to come for these future achievers.