Children need routine before school

It is important for children to engage in a structured routine before commencing their 13-year education journey, according to HIPPY North Dubbo co-ordinator Fran Schubert.

"Children are learning all the time, long before they get to school, so parents are their child's first and most important teachers", she said.

Despite its playful name, HIPPY stands for Home Interaction Program for Parents and Youngsters.

Funded by the federal Department of Education and supported by Centacare Bathurst, the two year home-based program aims to build confidence and skills of parents and carers to create a positive learning environment for children before they begin school.

"It's wonderful," Ms Schubert said.

"I believe it shows that education can be fun for both children and their parents."

This is Fran's fifth year as HIPPY co-ordinator, having stayed with the program since it was first introduced.

"This program is so much more than children's education, it is about empowering families to engage in practical parenting."

Fran employs trained home tutors who support parents with weekly home visits to explain and demonstrate the activities.

"One of the key requirements is that they must have a child in the program," she said.

"I like to think of this for parents as a soft entry going back into the workforce."

"They're working 15 hours a week, within school hours with all training provided."

The HIPPY program is free to join to Dubbo residents, with participating families receiving a set of activity packs, story books and other materials designed to help their child's learning.

For more details contact Fran Schubert on 6884 5889.

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