Home Instruction for Parents of Preschool Youngsters (HIPPY)

About This Program

Target Population: Parents who have young children and have limited formal education and resources

For children/adolescents ages: 3 – 5

For parents/caregivers of children ages: 3 – 5

Program Overview

HIPPY is a home-based and parent-involved school readiness program that helps parents prepare their children ages three to five years old for success in school and beyond. The parent is provided with a set of carefully developed curriculum, books, and materials designed to strengthen their child’s cognitive and early literacy skills, as well as their social, emotional, and physical development.

The HIPPY Curriculum contains 30 weekly activity packets, a set of storybooks, and a set of 20 manipulative shapes for each year. In addition to these basic materials, supplies such as scissors and crayons are provided for each participating family. The program uses trained coordinators and community-based home visitors who go into the home. These coordinators and home visitors role-play the activities with the parents and support each family throughout its participation in the program.

HIPPY believes that parents play a critical role in their children’s education. The HIPPY program seeks to support parents who may not feel sufficiently confident to prepare their children for school, and is designed to remove barriers to participation in education.

Program Goals

The primary goal of the Home Instruction for Parents of Preschool Youngsters (HIPPY) program is:

  • Partnering with parents to prepare their children for school success

Essential Components

The essential components of the Home Instruction for Parents of Preschool Youngsters (HIPPY) model include:

  • The developmentally appropriate curriculum
  • Role play as the method of instruction
  • Staff consisting of coordinators and home visitors
  • parent engagement through home visits and group meetings
  • Parent and child educational interactions encouraged through the use of the HIPPY curriculum
  • Designed to support parents with limited formal education
  • Scripted curriculum that serves as a lesson plan for parents
  • Curriculum based on exposure to skills, rather than mastery

Program Delivery

Child/Adolescent Services

Home Instruction for Parents of Preschool Youngsters (HIPPY) directly provides services to children/adolescents and addresses the following:

  • Limited exposure to reading readiness skills

Parent/Caregiver Services

Home Instruction for Parents of Preschool Youngsters (HIPPY) directly provides services to parents/caregivers and addresses the following:

  • Low literacy level, limited English proficiency

Recommended Intensity:

Home visitors engage their assigned parents on a weekly basis. Service delivery is primarily through home visits. A home visit consists of a one-hour, one-on-one interaction between the home visitor and their assigned parents. Parents then engage their children in educational activities for five days per week for 30 weeks. At least six times per year, one or more cohorts of parents meet in a group setting with the coordinator and their assigned home visitor(s). Group meetings feature enrichment activities for parents and their children and last approximately two hours.

Recommended Duration:

A minimum of 30 weeks of interaction with the home visitor; curriculum available for up to three years of home visiting services

Delivery Settings

This program is typically conducted in a(n):

  • Adoptive Home
  • Birth Family Home
  • Foster/Kinship Care


Home Instruction for Parents of Preschool Youngsters (HIPPY) includes a homework component:

In the sessions, curriculum is role played between the parent and the home visitor. For homework, the parent role plays the curriculum with his/her own child. There are also extension activities to complete, if desired.


Home Instruction for Parents of Preschool Youngsters (HIPPY) has materials available in a language other than English:


HIPPY International is also in the following countries:

  • Argentina
  • Australia
  • Austria
  • Canada
  • Denmark
  • Germany
  • Israel
  • Italy
  • New Zealand
  • South Africa
  • Switzerland

The contact person is for HIPPY International is:

Resources Needed to Run Program

The typical resources for implementing the program are:

  • Office space, furniture and basic furnishing, and a computer for administrative functions of program
  • Supplies for home visitation part that are not always commonly found in a home setting are provided by the program, such as coffee stirrers, sand paper, screws, etc.
  • Group meetings are held in the program office or community settings, such as a church, school, community center, etc.

Education and Training

Prerequisite/Minimum Provider Qualifications

The home visitors live in the community they serve and work with the same group of parents for three years. They receive weekly comprehensive training to well equip them to serve their assigned families effectively. The training also encourages them to seek further education. Many home visitors earn degrees in early childhood education. Educational requirements are established by the implementing agency and are usually a high school diploma or GED. Home visitors must be able to read in and speak the language of the families they serve.

The coordinator, who trains the home visitors and oversees the local program, is required to have the minimum of a Bachelor's degree.

Education and Training Resources

There is a manual that describes how to implement this program , and there is training available for this program.

Training Contact:
Training is obtained:

National: Coordinator pre-service and national conference

Regional: State office sponsored trainings

Local: Coordinators provide weekly home visitor training 3-4 hours per week, pre-service and during other on-site visits from a national trainer

Number of days/hours:

5-day new coordinator pre-service training in August, Biennial National conference (in-service), 3 days, initial site visits

Additional Resources:

There currently are additional qualified resources for training:

In addition, there are five state directors that can be identified through the national office.

Implementation Information

Pre-Implementation Materials

There are pre-implementation materials to measure organizational or provider readiness for Home Instruction for Parents of Preschool Youngsters (HIPPY) as listed below:

A Start-Up Manual is provided to potential programs, which includes implementation guidelines, programmatic considerations and budgetary suggestions. Programs submit a comprehensive application before being approved. A welcome kit is provided to all new programs and available by request from Donna Kirkwood at dkirkwood@hippyusa.org.

Formal Support for Implementation

There is formal support available for implementation of Home Instruction for Parents of Preschool Youngsters (HIPPY) as listed below:

New program coordinators attend preservice training for one week. In addition, a national conference is held every other year. Formal coaching and technical assistance is provided for new programs to the first 3 years of implementation. During the third year (and every other year after that), an accreditation visit occurs.

Fidelity Measures

There are fidelity measures for Home Instruction for Parents of Preschool Youngsters (HIPPY) as listed below:

The HIPPY Excellence: Model, Guidance, and Accreditation manual describes the elements of a quality HIPPY program, clarifies the program assessment process and establishes the criteria for accreditation. The HIPPY USA Accreditation Worksheet is included in this manual and services as a fidelity checklist. This manual is available by request from Donna Kirkwood at dkirkwood@hippyusa.org.

Implementation Guides or Manuals

There are implementation guides or manuals for Home Instruction for Parents of Preschool Youngsters (HIPPY) as listed below:

The Welcome Kit provides implementation guidance and includes the following items:

  • Keys to Sustainability: The HIPPY USA Advocacy Toolkit - This manual provides guidance on how to reach out to elected officials, community leaders, and the media to help ensure program sustainability. The toolkit covers the basics of the legislative process, including details about public policy, and it includes sections on working with key leaders and the media in your community. The kit also explains the process of hosting a visit to your program site, and gives you ideas about how to share your success stories with the public.
  • Educational Materials:
    • Resource Library Guide/ Science and Young Children: A Win-Win Combination
    • 2006 Enrichment Activity Book - These supplemental activities contain guidance and/or activities to provide to children who want or need more skill development.
    • HIPPY and Early Childhood Education Goals - This document details how HIPPY matches the most common early childhood educational goals established by the state.
  • HIPPY USA DVD 2007: This can be used to introduce agency staff, advisory committee members, funders, etc. to HIPPY
  • HIPPY USA ETO Database Materials: Efforts to Outcomes (ETO) is a web-based data collection system that also allows qualitative as well as quantitative report. This kit includes several instructional documents about ETO, however basic training on how to use ETO will also be provided to the coordinator and home visitors through the national office:
    • ETO User’s Guide
    • Paper Forms - Application and reporting forms (both explained in-depth within ETO User’s Guide beginning on page 7).
    • ETO References for using the database - Includes ETO frequently asked questions, instructions for how to review and edit your work on the database, and a list of HIPPY ETO terms, and how to locate documents within the database.
  • HIPPY USA Excellence Manuals - This series of three manuals (enclosed in binder) provide guidance on how to establish, implement and maintain high quality programming as well as in training for new staff. Your assigned national trainer will review and utilize the manuals during your first visits.
  • HIPPY USA Map - Shows the number of HIPPY sites and where they are located.
  • HIPPY USA Material Order Form - This form explains how to order curriculum materials.
  • HIPPY USA Staff Phone List
  • Inspirational Materials Packet - This compilation of materials can be used to motivate staff and/or parents – especially useful to start or end meetings.

The welcome kit is available by request from Donna Kirkwood at dkirkwood@hippyusa.org.

Research on How to Implement the Program

Research has not been conducted on how to implement Home Instruction for Parents of Preschool Youngsters (HIPPY).

Relevant Published, Peer-Reviewed Research

This program is rated a "2 - Supported by Research Evidence" on the Scientific Rating Scale based on the published, peer-reviewed research available. The program must have at least one rigorous randomized controlled trial with a sustained effect of at least 6 months. The article(s) below that reports outcomes from an RCT showing a sustained effect of at least 6 months has an asterisk (*) at the beginning of its entry. Please see the Scientific Rating Scale for more information.

Child Welfare Outcome: Child/Family Well-Being

*Baker, A. J. L., Piotrkowski, C. S., & Brooks-Gunn, J. (1998). The effects of the Home Instruction Program for Preschool Youngsters (HIPPY) on children’s school performance at the end of the program and one year later. Early Childhood Research Quarterly, 13(4), 571-588.

Type of Study: Randomized controlled trial in two separate cohorts
Number of Participants: Cohort 1: 69, Cohort 2: 113


  • Age — Children: Mean age=3.1-3.8 years
  • Race/Ethnicity — Each group in both Cohorts included participants who were African American, Latino, White, and Other races/ethnicities. A detailed breakout can be found in the paper.
  • Gender — Cohort I: HIPPY 49% Female, Control 59% Female. Cohort II: HIPPY 36% Female, Control 46% Female
  • Status — Participants were children enrolled in the sponsoring agencies prekindergarten program.

Location/Institution: New York State

Summary: (To include comparison groups, outcomes, measures, notable limitations)
Families were randomly assigned to Home Instruction for Parents of Preschool Youngsters (HIPPY) or to a control group. Children’s cognitive skills were assessed at baseline using the Cooperative Preschool Inventory (CPI). Family demographics were also collected using the National Evaluation Information System. Following the program children were reassessed with the CPI and also on the Metropolitan Readiness Test (MRT), a standardized test completed in kindergarten. Adaptation to the classroom was assessed with teacher ratings on the Child Classroom Adaptation Index (CCAI), which included evaluations of enjoyment of learning, attention, self-direction, and motivation and readiness to learn. At one-year follow-up in the first grade, performance was assessed with school records and repeat assessment with the CCAI. Researchers note that Cohort 1 was significantly older than Cohort 2 and scored higher on the CPI at baseline. Results showed that in Cohort 1 children in the HIPPY group showed higher on the CPI and classroom adaptation at the end of the program and higher on a standardized reading test and on classroom adaptation at the end of 1-year follow-up. However, no differences were found between intervention and control groups in Cohort II. Limitations include the inability to determine long-term impacts and inability to determine if parents generalize lessons to parenting practices outside of the program.

Length of postintervention follow-up: 1 year.

Barhava-Monteith, G., Harre, N., & Field, J. (1999). A promising start: An evaluation of the HIPPY program in New Zealand. Early Child Development and Care, 159, 145-157.

Type of Study: Nonequivalent control group
Number of Participants: Study 1: 781, Study 2: 58, Study 3: 57 from Study 2 and an additional 47 comparison children


  • Age — Study 1: 6 years, Study 2: 5.0-5.5 years, Study 3: Not specified
  • Race/Ethnicity — Study 1: Not specified; Study 2: 50% Pacific Islander, 40% Maori, and 10% European descent; Study 3: Not specified
  • Gender — Study 1: Not specified, Study 2: 31 Females and 27 Males, Study 3: Not specified
  • Status — Participants were children attending public schools.

Location/Institution: Not specified

Summary: (To include comparison groups, outcomes, measures, notable limitations)
In study 1, scores were compared for children who attended Home Instruction for Parents of Preschool Youngsters (HIPPY) and children in the same schools on two reading tests: the Reading Diagnostic Survey, which assesses need for remedial reading tuition and the BURT Word Reading test which assesses word recognition. HIPPY children scored higher on all subscales and this difference was significant for concepts about print, the word test, and the BURT mean. In Study 2, children who had been attending school for 6 months received the Metropolitan Readiness Test (MRT). HIPPY children scored higher on all subscales assessing school readiness, but the differences were not statistically significant. In Study 3, the same HIPPY and comparison children as in study two, plus an additional comparison group consisting of all available remaining children in that school were assessed on the Behavioral Academic Self-Esteem Scale (BASE) which measures classroom behavior as observed by teachers. Both HIPPY and original comparison group children had higher scores than the additional comparison group. The authors suggest that the original comparison group may have had a selection bias. Limitations include lack of randomization, lack of measures for children’s’ mathematical ability, and focus on short-term outcomes.

Length of postintervention follow-up: Study 1 - 1 year, Studies 2 & 3 - 6 months.

Bradley, R. H., & Gilkey, B. (2002). The impact of the Home Instructional Program for Preschool Youngsters (HIPPY) on school performance in 3rd and 6th Grades. Early Education and Development, 13(3), 301-311.

Type of Study: Post-hoc matched comparison group
Number of Participants: Intervention: 516, Comparison group: 516


  • Age — 3rd and 6th grade children (approximately 7-9 years and 10-12 years)
  • Race/Ethnicity — 65.2% European American and 32.2% African American
  • Gender — 54.6% Male
  • Status — Participants were children attending public schools.

Location/Institution: Arkansas

Summary: (To include comparison groups, outcomes, measures, notable limitations)
Children who had received the Home Instruction for Parents of Preschool Youngsters (HIPPY) program prior to entering elementary school were matched with current classmates, some of whom had other preschool experience. Children were assessed on 1) school attendance, 2) Official actions (e.g., suspension, assignment to special education services), 3) grade in math, reading, language arts, 4) standardized test scores, and 5) student behavior obtained from teachers on a short version of the Child Classroom Adaptation Inventory. There were no group differences in attendance. HIPPY children had fewer suspensions than the subgroup of comparison children who had other preschool experience. HIPPY children performed better in reading and language arts and had higher math grades than children with no preschool experience. The authors note that the effect sizes of differences in grade point average were small. On standardized tests, HIPPY students performed better in reading and language arts than the comparison groups, and had higher math scores than students with other preschool experience. Teachers rated HIPPY students higher on academic achievement than those with no preschool experience and higher on overall adjustment than both comparison groups. The authors caution that the lack of true experimental design could mean that differences were due to a selection bias across the HIPPY, other preschool and no preschool children, which could account for differences. Limitations include lack of participant randomization, inability to determine any sub-group differences, and the use of multiple post-hoc analyses increasing likelihood of chance differences.

Length of postintervention follow-up: 4-7 years.

Nievar, M. A., Jacobson, A., Chen, Q., Johnson, U., & Dier, S. (2011). Impact of HIPPY on home learning environments of Latino families. Early Childhood Research Quarterly, 26, 268-277.

Type of Study: Pretest/post-test with control group (two separate cohorts)
Number of Participants: Cohort 1: 108, Cohort 2: 131


  • Age — 3-4 years
  • Race/Ethnicity — 100% Hispanic
  • Gender — Not specified
  • Status — Participants were families enrolled in the sponsoring agencies pre-Kindergarten program.

Location/Institution: Southwest United States

Summary: (To include comparison groups, outcomes, measures, notable limitations)
The study evaluated the effectiveness of a public school-administered Home Instruction for Parents of Preschool Youngsters (HIPPY) program which served mostly low-income, Latino Spanish-speaking families. Cohort 1 was evaluated against a waitlist control group, while Cohort 2 was compared to a sample of students with similar demographics.  Parents completed the Parenting Stress Index (PSI), Parental Involvement and Efficacy, Center for Epidemiological Survey-Depression (CES-D), a demographic survey, and the Home Observation for Measurement of the Environment (HOME). A third-grade follow-up of children in the program showed significantly higher math achievement when compared to low-income Latino third graders in the same school district. Intervention participation predicted more cognitive stimulation in the home environment, even when controlling for contextual factors unrelated to the intervention. Furthermore, mothers in the HIPPY program developed more parenting efficacy than those in the comparison group as they carried out the parent-as-teacher role. Limitations include the lack of randomization and the use of de-identified school records which preventing matching records to individual subjects.

Length of postintervention follow-up: 3 years.

Johnson, U. Y., Martinez-Cantu, V., Jacobson, A. L., & Weir, C. (2012). The Home Instruction for Parents of Preschool Youngsters program's relationship with mother and school outcomes. Early Education & Development, 23(5), 713-727.

Type of Study: Cohorts 1 and 2: One group pretest-posttest studies, Cohorts 3 and 4: Nonequivalent control group designs
Number of Participants: Cohort 1: 87, Cohort 2: 92, Cohort 3: 558, Cohort 4: 216


  • Age — Cohort 1: 3-4 years old, Cohort 2: Kindergartners (approximately 4-6 years), Cohort 3: Kindergartners (approximately 4-6 years), Cohort 4: Third graders (approximately 7-9 years)
  • Race/Ethnicity — Cohort 1: 79% Latina; Cohort 2: Not specified; Cohort 3: 90% Latino, 9% African American, and 1% Caucasian; Cohort 4: 85% Latino, 12% African American, and 3% Caucasian
  • Gender — Cohort 1: 100% Female, Cohort 2: Not specified, Cohort 3: 50% Female, Cohort 4: 54.6% Female
  • Status — Participants were children and parents in public school settings that utilized the Home Instruction for Parents of Preschool Youngsters (HIPPY) program.

Location/Institution: Texas

Summary: (To include comparison groups, outcomes, measures, notable limitations)
This study investigated the relationship of the HIPPY program to mother’s involvement in education at home and school, students school readiness in kindergarten, and student academic outcomes at 3rd grade. Measures utilized include the Parent Involvement Interview and the Kindergarten Teacher Survey (KTS). Results indicate that HIPPY mothers increased educational activities in their home with their children after 1 year of home-based intervention. Additionally, HIPPY kindergartners had higher attendance rates, higher prekindergarten enrollment, and higher promotion to 1st grade compared to other kindergartners in the school district. HIPPY 3rd graders scored significantly higher on a state-mandated math achievement test than their matched peers. Limitations include the lack of randomization of participants and the limited use of a comparison group.

Length of postintervention follow-up: Cohorts 1-3: None, Cohort 4: approximately 3 years.

Brown, A. L. (2013). The impact of early intervention on the school readiness of children born to teenage mothers. Journal of Early Childhood Research. Advance online publication. doi: 10.1177/1476718X13479048

Type of Study: Nonequivalent control group design
Number of Participants: Parents: 36, Children: 36


  • Age — Parents: 19-32 years; Children: 65.6-65.7 months
  • Race/Ethnicity — Not specified – primarily Hispanic
  • Gender — Parents: 100% Female; Children: 26 Boys and 10 Girls
  • Status — Participants were Kindergarten students in 5 urban school districts enrolled in the Home Instruction for Parents of Preschool Youngsters (HIPPY) program.

Location/Institution: Texas

Summary: (To include comparison groups, outcomes, measures, notable limitations)
This study examined the effect of participation in the HIPPY program on the school readiness of children born to teenage mothers versus children born to traditional-age mothers participating in the HIPPY program. Children in HIPPY born to teenage mothers were matched to children in HIPPY who were born to mothers over age 19. Measures utilized were the Kindergarten Readiness Survey and the School Readiness Survey. Results showed no statistical difference between the two groups. Limitations include the small sample size and the lack of randomization of participants.

Length of postintervention follow-up: None.

Brown, A., & Lee, J. (2014). School performance in elementary, middle, and high school: A comparison of children based on HIPPY participation during the preschool years. School Community, 24(2), 83-106.

Type of Study: Quasi-experimental, cross-sectional, post-hoc design
Number of Participants: 1,032


  • Age — Not specified
  • Race/Ethnicity — 66.5% Hispanic, 4.6% White, 27.7% African American, 1% Asian, and 0.2% American Indian
  • Gender — 52.7% Girls and 47.3% Boys
  • Status — Participants were children who had participated in the Home Improvement for Preschool Youngsters (HIPPY) program and demographically similar children who did not participate in the HIPPY program.

Location/Institution: A large, urban school district in Texas

Summary: (To include comparison groups, outcomes, measures, notable limitations)
The purpose of this study was to determine the impact of the Home Improvement for Preschool Youngsters (HIPPY) program on school performance during the 3rd, 5th, 7th, and 9th grades. The study employed a quasi-experimental, post-hoc design using existing data on children who participated in the HIPPY program as 3-, 4-, or 5-year-olds. Measures utilized include Texas Assessment of Knowledge and Skills (TAKS) scores, attendance records, school retention, and discipline referrals. Results indicate that in all four grades HIPPY children had significantly higher rates of school attendance, were retained less often, had fewer repeat discipline referrals, scored higher, and had higher pass rates on the Reading and Math TAKS than matching children without HIPPY experience. Results also indicate that children who participated in the HIPPY program as a 3-, 4-, or 5-year-old appear to have benefited long-term from the experience. Limitations include unable to report whether children in the HIPPY group showed competitive school performance compared to the general population of children from middle- or upper-income families, and the inability to investigate how parents function in this trajectory.

Length of postintervention follow-up: Estimated 3-11 years.

The following studies were not included in rating HIPPY on the Scientific Rating Scale...

Van Tuijl, C., Leseman, P. M., & Rispens, J. (2001). Efficacy of an intensive home-based educational intervention programme for 4- to 6-year-old ethnic minority children in the Netherlands. International Journal of Behavioral Development, 25(2), 148-159.

Note: Because this study assesses a program based on Home Instruction for Parents of Preschool Youngsters (HIPPY), but using a different curriculum, it was not included in the Scientific Rating. Families were recruited for the intervention and matched with a comparison group on age, ethnicity and socioeconomic status. At baseline children were assessed on IQ, Dutch language and native language vocabulary. At the conclusion of the program, they were tested on semantic-taxonomic, logo-mathematical, and number concepts, as well as on conservation and seriation skill. A test of numeracy and early mathematical competence was also given. The vocabulary tests in native language and Dutch were repeated. For Turkish children, those who had the program scored significantly higher on ordering concepts and general cognition and on emergent numeracy. There were no group differences for the Moroccan children.

Additional References

Lombard, A. (1981). Success begins at home. Lexington, MA: Heath.

Westheimer, M. (1997). Ready or not: One home-based response to the school readiness dilemma. Early Child Development and Care, 127(1), 245-257.

Contact Information

Donna Kirkwood
Agency/Affiliation: HIPPY USA
Website: www.hippyusa.org
Phone: (501) 537-7727
Fax: (501) 537-7716

Date Research Evidence Last Reviewed by CEBC: June 2016

Date Program Content Last Reviewed by Program Staff: July 2016

Date Program Originally Loaded onto CEBC: April 2008