It’s been a year like no for HIPPY Smithton (Home Instruction for Parents of Preschool Youngsters), and having taken over as Program Coordinator in January Dee Beriya was thrown into the deep end.
“Both myself and Emma Thompson (Assistant Coordinator) feel that it has been a both a challenge and a privilege to [run the program] through COVID but we have a really strong team this year, an amazing bunch of women and they have all impressed us with their resilience and flexibility,” Dee said.
“All of our HIPPY families have worked so hard with their kids and really embraced our remote delivery.”
Making the move from New South Wales to Circular Head to take on the role Dee says she has a passion for empowering women and supporting parents to connect with their children.
“It’s an all-encompassing program. One aim of HIPPY is developing parents as the first educators of their children, and another aim is recruiting women who want to develop themselves professionally and personally and providing them a range of training opportunities,” Dee said.
“I sincerely believe that if you empower women, if you invest in women, you empower and strengthen a whole community.”
“We were determined to give our HIPPY families the best program possible, we chose to go remote and have done all we can to keep the program fun and engaging and to keep in touch with our families as best we could – including developing a Facebook page,” Dee explained.
“We had to face the challenge of how do we do HIPPY to the best level that we can, but remotely.”
Participating in the local Science Gig is something HIPPY Smithton has done for a number of years and the HIPPY Smithton team has had to be extra creative in having remote HIPPY presence in the annual event.
Fitting with Science Week’s 2020 theme of ‘Deep Blue’, Dee wanted to find an activity that was true to the theme but also relevant to Tasmania.
“Eventually we landed on getting parents to design Oyster Outfits,” Dee said.
“We wanted to focus on oysters because the Science Week 2020 Deep Blue theme is about the economic, environmental and social sustainability of our oceans with a focus on Aquaculture – this may be something that many of our HIPPY children and families had never thought about before,” said Dee.
“We wanted families to engage in thinking about and exposing their children to something different and something that is also a really relevant Tasmanian industry”
Students learned oyster facts, watched virtual oyster farm tours and had the opportunity to learn what it’s like to be an oyster farmer.
“Families did find that making an oyster outfit was a bit quirky and out there,” said Dee.
“But they rose to the challenge and we had amazing entries and so much creativity, it’s been fantastic.”
Joseph Heald, Isabelle Heald, Jelimo Riley, Layla Ross and Levi Jackson are the world’s cutest shellfish, dressing up as part of Science Week.