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Annual Report 2021

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HIPPY PROGRAM IN CANADA SERVED 24 SITES FROM COAST TO COAST 2020 21 Program Year 1 073 mothers and 1 210 children were enrolled 49 were new 30 21 HIPPY parents were in their second year were in their third year or longer 88 11 1 Number of HIPPY Children 88 of mothers had one child in HIPPY HIPPY Mother Change MOTHERS MATTER CENTRE ANNUAL REPORT 2020 2021 PAGE 5

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At the MMC, we know that isolation takes a toll on families. The essential COVID-19 social distancing measures have escalated the necessity for human-centred connections and tactical support services between HIPPY Home Visitors and already isolated mothers and their families.

The MMC and its partner Social Purpose Organizations (SPOs) reported that increased challenges are due to several factors:

Many depended on survival jobs, which are first to be cutSubstandard housing was overcrowdedFood insecurity increased Pre-existing health conditions were exacerbatedThe feelings of loneliness and fear increasedThe risk of domestic violence roseLanguage barriers, combined with insufficient knowledge of Canadian systems, made it difficult to learn about and access government assistance designed to assist people through the COVID-19 crisis.

Recognizing the urgent need to sustain contact and support HIPPY families, the MMC and HIPPY staff across the country responded with a creative suite of materials. Responses included hard and virtual copies of the parent-child curriculum, instructional tools, tutorials on virtual home visiting, and parent-child extension activities, such as the Stay ‘N’ Play series. 

The MMC and its partner SPOs provided several options to ensure that Home Visitors had the flexibility to respond to unique family situations regarding access to technology, literacy, and resources.

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HIPPY Nanaimo, British ColumbiaCentral Vancouver Island Multicultural Society

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HIPPY Winnipeg, ManitobaMosaic Family Resource Network

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Monique Best
Director of Francophone ProgramsMothers Matter Centre

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SMART Mother and child 

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Supporting Mothers and Raising Toddlers (SMART) is a play-based learning program for mothers of children aged 18 to 36 months. The pilot was a 30-week program, administered over a year that included 78 structured, engaging, and easy-to-follow activities to stimulate toddlers’ imaginations and encourage them to learn and bond with their family.

Mothers appreciated the program for teaching them the skills to engage their kids effectively through play. They felt that, even if their toddlers had some toys, they did not have the capacity as mothers to engage creatively with their children. Viewing play as learning and using it to build skills in children was new to some mothers. SMART enabled mothers to play with children, which led to increased bonding and individual attention for each child.

The SMART pilot confirmed that, with the right skills, tools, and confidence, vulnerable and isolated mothers can effectively engage their toddlers through play-based learning. 

SMART is an adaptation of Opstapje, a play-based learning initiative created in Germany by IMPULS, for which the MMC has acquired the license and adapted for use in Canada. The program is open to all Canadian organizations.

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In the summer of 2020, MMC offered the Train-the-Trainer Program to all HIPPY Coordinators across Canada who wished to improve their teaching and facilitation skills. 

This program focused on enabling students with the skills and tools to offer National Professional Development Training in English and French.

The Train-the-Trainer program consisted of 18 two-hour modules delivered twice a week over eight weeks. 

Coordinators from 11 HIPPY sites attended the program and did a practicum for three weeks. The program finished on August 30, 2020. 

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