cohealth helping little monkeys get a swinging start to school

Posted on 15th February 2023
A page from Monkey Goes to School where Giraffe tells Monkey that it's time to go to school

Participants in cohealth’s school-readiness program HIPPY have helped create a very special book that helps address some of the common concerns kids have before starting school. 

Monkey Goes to School, written by Donita Richards, is a fun book for pre-schoolers that features the artwork created by three- and four-year old participants of HIPPY (the Home Interaction Program for Parents and Youngsters). 

Understanding the power of storytelling, cohealth’s HIPPY team has addressed some of the concerns kids have before starting school.

Who will I play with? Will I see my old friends? What will I eat?  

Using the children’s artwork, they have become part of the story, hopefully helping them overcome some of these normal fears. The text reminds the children of what they learnt together throughout the program.  

HIPPY is a fun and free two-year, home-based, early learning and parenting program for families with young children. It’s a community-focused group where parents and children connect with others in their communities.  

Throughout the program, mentors empower parents to build caring, responsive relationships with their children; in return, children gain confidence in learning. HIPPY helps enhance children’s transition to, and engagement with, school. Through the peer-to-peer model, parents learn their child’s natural learning style and become their first teachers. The program fosters greater family time by promoting ‘everywhere learning’ using everyday experiences as learning opportunities.  

Parents are encouraged to share stories with their children providing focused one-on-one time and creating positive associations between home, school, and learning.  

With this in mind, Monkey Goes to School was created to help prepare children for school and instil a lifelong love of learning. Believing that seeing themselves and their illustrations within the book’s pages might just be life-changing for the children in the program, the facilitators are thrilled with the outcome of their gorgeous book. 

HIPPY is Australia-wide, and the local group, facilitated by cohealth on Churchill Avenue in Braybrook, looks after families from West Footscray, Sunshine, Maidstone, and Braybrook.  

HIPPY Braybrook is now accepting applications from parents of three and four-year-old children until 30 April 2023. For more about the HIPPY program, visit 

To contact HIPPY Braybrook, please email

The Home Interaction Program for Parents and Youngsters (HIPPY) is funded by the Australian Government Department of Social Services. 

This article originally appeared in The Westsider.  

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