Initiative designed to help parents work with their own children

A new literacy program for preschoolers offered through the Central Alberta Immigrant Women’s Association aims to bring out the teacher in every parent.

Fenet Anbesa

A new literacy program for preschoolers offered through the Central Alberta Immigrant Women’s Association aims to bring out the teacher in every parent.

“When asked who is your first teacher, the kids will say, ‘Mama. Mama was my first teacher,’ ” said association executive director Halima Ali on Tuesday.

“It will empower our immigrant community.”

The Home Instruction for Parents of Preschool Youngsters (HIPPY) is an international program designed to help parents of children three to five years old improve family literacy skills while creating a richer parent-child relationship. For new immigrants, the program can reduce social isolation, boost self-esteem and help children and parents adapt to life in a new country.

Ali heard about HIPPY through her sister in Minnesota and is proud that Red Deer is the first community in Alberta to offer the three-year program. It was officially launched on Tuesday at the women’s association office in the Scott Block at 4818 50th Ave.

The first families got involved at the end of January and now 32 are participating. Up to 60 families can be served by the four staff members who visit homes to offer training.

The $258,400 project has been funded to 2010 by Citizenship and Immigration Canada and Human Resources and Skills Development Canada.

Through the program parents are provided with course materials and 40-minute weekly instruction sessions to give them the background on how to introduce their children to reading and writing. The program is built around 15 minutes a day of activities, games and other learning methods.

HIPPY Canada executive director Debbie Bell said the culturally sensitive program is based on the premise that parents will embrace the opportunity to help educate their children and reach their full potential.

“We know that all parents want the best for their kids.”

The program is successful because it is a long-term commitment, can be easily fit into the daily routine of child rearing, and improves the quality of life for children and their parents.

Bell hopes that Red Deer will be a springboard for offering the program in other communities, and she has already made contacts in Calgary. The program is already in eight communities across Canada and serves 2,500 immigrant and First Nations families.

HIPPY is also offered in about a dozen countries, including Israel, South Africa, Australia and the U.S.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Rainbow flag raised at Red Deer College to kick off Pride Week

Central Alberta Pride Week runs next week

Alberta to explore small nuclear technology

EDMONTON — The Alberta government says it plans to join three other… Continue reading

From masks to cohorting, a guide to back-to-school rules across the country

Plans are being made across the country for how to safely send… Continue reading

Red Deer asking for feedback on new transit routes

The new routes will begin Aug. 23

Updated: Red Deer region unemployment hits 14% in July

Unemployment in Red Deer region nearly double July 2019 rate of 7.4%

Protestors for Indigenous Lives Matter gather in Wetaskiwin

Protestors gathered along 56 St Wetaskiwin, Alta. August 4, 2020 for Indigenous Lives Matter.

‘Caught up in the frenzy:’ Oilers 50/50 draw breaking ticket sale records

EDMONTON — Frenzy over the Edmonton Oilers online 50/50 draw continued Friday,… Continue reading

POLL: Do you plan on leaving the province on holiday this summer?

Do you plan on leaving the province on holiday this summer?… Continue reading

Flower show open to the public

The Alberta Dahlia and Gladiolus Society will host its annual flower display… Continue reading

Innisfail Eagles to play in Ranchlands Hockey League in 2020-21

Eagles have still declared as a senior AAA team for next season

Red Deer Rebels lend helping hand to Vancouver Canucks

The hockey community is a tight-knit one and it was the Red… Continue reading

Labyrinth is a gift to neighbours

Lacombe resident encourages others to use their imagination

You have nothing to fear from central EMS dispatching

My name is Brad Higgins. I am reaching out with respect to… Continue reading

Maskwacis teen charged in 10-year-old boy’s death

The RCMP Major Crimes Unit have laid a manslaughter charge against a 14-year-old boy from Maskwacis.

Most Read