DALLAS (CBS11) – Jaylen Walker is already sold on being a ‘HIPPY’ and he just turned 5-years-old.
“He loves it,” says his mother, Brigida Walker, while adding that their at-home-learning-focused-quality time is often at her PreK student’s urging. “He’ll say ‘Mom, what we gonna do with HIPPY today?’ He brings it to me.”
HIPPY is short for ‘Home Instruction for Parents of Preschool Youngsters.’
The free program is Dallas ISD’s latest effort to build loyalty among potential parents (as charter schools each year lure more of them away), help parents get their children ready for school, and then build on that success once they begin classes.
“I didn’t know that he would pick up on the book reading at first; but, he loves it,” says Walker. “When I see the joy in his eyes, it makes me happy.”
DISD staffers called ‘home instructors’ recruit parents with children as young as 3-years-old. Then for 30 weeks, the home instructors will visit to provide interactive curriculum, learning tools and support. Curriculum topics cover literacy, language, math, science and gross motor skills.
“It only takes 15 minutes a day to work with your child and they’re sold,” says instructor Queisha Malcolm. “Why wouldn’t we want our children to be successful when they go to school? Why wouldn’t we want them to be prepared?”
Malcolm says some parents are initially reluctant, insisting that they already know how to teach their children, but over time realize that the structure and easy to follow lessons prove their worth.
“We do pre and post-testing,” says Malcolm. “At the beginning a lot of them score really low. At the end of 30 weeks, they (3 year olds) know all of their colors, they can identify the letters in their name. They know shapes, they know different concepts.”
Malcolm says the growth shows that the program is working and that makes her and the parents proud.
“It’s wonderful,” says Walker. “It’s a wonderful thing.”
For more information on the program, click here.