Israeli ed-tech takes big steps in East Asia

Just as it is widely known that Israelis emphasize the of importance of education in their culture, it is perhaps, just as well-known that many Asian countries similarly stress the importance of quality education in their societies.

And perhaps this is best showcased in the recent expansion of the Israeli-born early-learning program HIPPY. Israel21c reported on preparations for this expansion to the East Asian countries of China and South Korea in their March 2017 article, Asian countries welcome Israeli early learning program.

In these countries where quality education is arguably held in high regard, Chinese and Korean children may indeed reap the benefits of this novel Israeli-born early learning program. Likewise, their parents may soon see their at-home interactions with their children enriched in a whole new way.

HIPPY is an early-learning program designed for parents to teach their children in the comfort of their own home. This, in essence, enables parents to become their child’s first teacher. And indeed, this early-learning game-changer may be considerably empowering for both parents and their children.

Although the program has its roots in Israel, HIPPY and HIPPY-inspired programs can now be found in countries such as Argentina, Australia, Austria, Canada, Germany, Liberia, New Zealand, United States, Holland, Finland, Denmark, Turkey and Sweden.

In the article, Israel21c reported that:

“HIPPY partners with parents to prepare kids for success in school, particularly targeting children disadvantaged by poverty, limited education and language deficits.”

However, the article further stated that in these two Asian countries, the program will not necessarily target poverty-stricken children:

“In these Far East countries, the HIPPY model was expanded and transformed to better serve upper- and middle-class populations. Professional teachers will train the parents, and the goal is to bring the children to a higher level of academic success.”

In the article, HIPPY International director Miriam Westheimer told Israel 21c about how this will be the first time that HIPPY is targeted at a highly educated consumer:

“HIPPY has been steadily growing worldwide over the last 10 years. South Korea and China are the first programs in Asia where we will be adapting the core program model for a very different and more highly educated consumer,”

HIPPY’s website describes its curriculum philosophy,

“Parents are encouraged to build on the information in the activities in order to generalize the learning in all areas of their children’s lives.”

The HIPPY curriculum consists of materials like storybooks, activity books, as well as scissors, crayons and geometric shapes.

Furthermore, HIPPY’s website describes one of the main goals of its curriculum and how it is designed to foster vital school readiness skills.

their website lists these essential knowledge skills as:

language development, perceptual and sensory discrimination, logical thinking and problem-solving.

It will surely be difficult to deny that the talents of Israelis and, in particular, Israeli education professionals, will inevitably benefit the world and will certainly bless these Asian countries with this innovative early-learning program. Perhaps this is best summarized in HIPPY’s principles:

“Four decades have brought many changes within HIPPY and the birth of a variety of programs to meet the needs of Israel’s dynamically changing society. All of these programs share the original and enduring HIPPY principle, that parents and positive parent-child interactions play a key role in children’s learning and ability to realize their potential.” 

The original founder of HIPPY, Avima D. Lombard, boldly characterized her vision of the ideal parent-child educational mentorship and her vision behind founding HIPPY:

“One thing is clear. Parents care and, given the opportunity, parents are ready to invest in their children’s education. Our work with HIPPY is designed to make that possible.”

– Avima D. Lombard, HIPPY Then and Now: A Retrospective, 1994

About the Author
Allison Barksdale is a senior convergence journalism major at Abilene Christian University who has a heart for Israel and enjoys writing about Israel's numerous contributions in her spare time.
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