By Donita Richards

    HIPPY (the Home Interaction Program for Parents and Youngsters) graduates at Braybrook were delighted to receive a parting gift last month. Monkey Goes to School, a collaboration between the children and staff, is a fun (and sometimes cheeky) book for preschoolers that celebrates the artwork created throughout the program.

    Understanding the power of storytelling, the HIPPY team has addressed some of the concerns kids have before starting school. Who will I play with? Will I see my old friends? What will I eat? Using the children’s artwork, they have become part of the story, hopefully helping them overcome some of these normal fears. The text reminds the children of what they learnt together throughout the program.

    For those unfamiliar with the program, HIPPY is a fun and free two-year, home-based, early learning and parenting program for families with young children. It’s a community-focused group where parents and children connect with others in their communities.

    Throughout the program, mentors empower parents to build caring, responsive relationships with their children; in return, children gain confidence in learning. A child’s transition to and engagement with school is often enhanced. Through the peer-to-peer model, parents learn their child’s natural learning style and become their first teachers. The program fosters greater family time by promoting ‘everywhere learning’ using everyday experiences as learning opportunities. 

    Parents are encouraged to share stories with their children providing valuable, focused one-on-one time to create positive associations between home, school, and learning. With this in mind, Monkey Goes to School was created to help prepare children for school and instill a lifelong love of learning. Believing that seeing themselves and their illustrations within the book’s pages might just be life-changing for the children in the program, the facilitators are thrilled with the outcome of their gorgeous book. 

    HIPPY is Australia-wide, and the local group, facilitated by Cohealth on Churchill Avenue in Braybrook, looks after families from West Footscray, Sunshine, Maidstone, and Braybrook. 

    HIPPY Braybrook is now accepting applications from parents of three-year-old children from the above catchment areas. For more about the HIPPY program, visit:

    To contact HIPPY Braybrook, please email

    The Home Interaction Program for Parents and Youngsters (HIPPY) is funded by the Australian Government Department of Social Services.

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