Aboriginal Home Instruction for Parents of Preschool Youngsters (HIPPY)

The Mothers Matters Centre, formerly HIPPY Canada, administers the Aboriginal HIPPY Program, which empowers Indigenous parents to deliver culturally relevant curriculum to their preschool youngsters. Since 2013, the Saskatoon Tribal Council has been taking part in the program with its member nations.

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Transcript for Aboriginal Home Instruction for Parents of Preschool Youngsters (HIPPY) Saskatoon Tribal Council

Disclaimer: Please note that since the creation of this video, HIPPY Canada has been renamed to Mothers Matter Centre. Additionally, the Whitecap Dakota First Nation has been added as a member nation to the Saskatoon Tribal Council.

Janine Ahenakew (Aboriginal HIPPY Coordinator, Saskatoon Tribal Council): Aboriginal HIPPY is home instruction for parents of preschool youngsters. Aboriginal HIPPY began in 2001 in British Columbia.

Felix Thomas (Tribal Chief, Saskatoon Tribal Council):The Saskatoon Tribal Council's HIPPY program is the largest provider of this program in Canada…and it's the only one in Saskatchewan as well. The six member nations from our tribal council that are involved are: Kinistin, Muskeg Lake, Muskoday, Mistawasis, One Arrow, and Yellow Quill. The Saskatoon Tribal Council became involved in the Aboriginal HIPPY Program because what it did was engage parents and children... before going to school, and that's very important- that bonding and connecting and that social interaction. A lot of the residential schools took that away from our parents.

Violet Dubitz (Early Learning Literacy Coordinator, Saskatoon Tribal Council): It's been proven that when you have parental involvement, there's a greater chance of student success. Ideally, we want the children to be coming to school prepared in a way that is important not only in their cognitive development but also in a social setting.

Janine Ahenakew (Aboriginal HIPPY Coordinator, Saskatoon Tribal Council): The Aboriginal Hippy Program is aimed toward 3, 4, and 5 year-old groups. This quality curriculum is delivered through role play process. Role Playing begins between the coordinator and the Aboriginal HIPPY parent instructor practicing this curriculum. After we've done our role play process, The Aboriginal HIPPY parent instructor goes into the home and works with the parent and there's a practice period prior to the child being taught by the parent.

Jenny Duquette (Aboriginal HIPPY Parent Instructor, Mistawasis First Nation): I'm from Mistawasis First Nation and I've grown up there all my life.  Everybody knows me, the parents that I teach know me, and they trust me to come in to their home to see what I have to offer them. We travel to parents' homes and we introduce curriculum. I am currently working with 16 families, and I role play the curriculum to my parents and then the parent teaches the child.

Janine Ahenakew (Aboriginal HIPPY Coordinator, Saskatoon Tribal Council): Each of our families receives a bin, so there is crayons, scissors, pencils, erasers, books. All the books that we provide are culturally relevant materials. We're infusing local languages into each of our books.

Violet Dubitz (Early Learning Literacy Coordinator, Saskatoon Tribal Council): When a child opens a book and can relate to the same coloured skin, the same things that are within their communities that are celebrated within the books, it just makes that connection that much more powerful for the parent as well as the student.

Janine Ahenakew (Aboriginal HIPPY Coordinator, Saskatoon Tribal Council): Parents are expected to do ten to fifteen minutes a day of reading as well as curriculum delivery with their child. The only expectation for the child is to do the activity.

Jeannine Head (Parent- Aboriginal Hippy Program, Mistawasis First Nation): I like that it gives me the opportunity to bond with my son. To be together more often, spend at least twenty to fifteen minutes a day just doing activities and learning together. It helped him a lot. It helped him get ready for school, it helped him learn his colours, his shapes, his hand-eye coordination, his vocal development, everything.

Janine Ahenakew (Aboriginal HIPPY Coordinator, Saskatoon Tribal Council): Traditionally, parents are their child's first teacher, and that's exactly what HIPPY does is it empowers parents to take on that traditional role and be their child's first teacher again. We get to play a role in reversing the effects of the intergenerational trauma from residential schools. We're giving parents the opportunity to heal. Their doing it with their children and they see it working. Our communities are getting healthier because of this.

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