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Above: HIPPY tutor and parent Heather Jacobs with sons Eli, Jeb and Andrew Ronan.
Jessica Rock Above: HIPPY tutor and parent Heather Jacobs with sons Eli, Jeb and Andrew Ronan.

A community program which encourages parents to prepare their children for the early years of school has celebrated its first “graduating” families.

The Home Interaction Program for Parents and Youngsters (HIPPY) began in Geraldton last year.

Rangeway Primary School principal Jacqui Quartermaine said HIPPY highlighted the benefits of teaching children a good vocabulary, language and skills such as pencil grip and counting.

Heather Jacobs, who took part in the program with son Jeb, said it gave parents confidence to educate their children.

“HIPPY reminds us about the conversations we have and how much children learn from what is going on around them,” she said.

A ceremony for 2011-2012 HIPPY graduates was held at Spalding Family Centre last Tuesday. Guests included City of Greater Geraldton mayor Ian Carpenter, Rangeway Primary School principal Jacqui Quartermaine and Child Australia CEO Dawson Ruhl.

East Geraldton was the only regional area in WA chosen in 2011- 2012 to receive funding for the program.

HIPPY will continue in Geraldton in 2013 and 2014.

Interested families living in Rangeway, Utakarra and Karloo, or who have children attending Rangeway Primary School, St John’s Primary School or Beachlands Primary School, can contact co-ordinator Kelly Dowse on 0427 242 615.

HIPPY is funded by the Federal Government, managed by the Brotherhood of Saint Laurence and operated by Child Australia with support from Rangeway Primary School.

Child Australia is a not-for-profit organisation which aims to improve the lives of children through education, early childhood services, family support and advocacy.