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Hands on Learning

Hands on Learning is an innovative education program that supports the different ways young people learn.

Innovative education for vulnerable young people

Not everyone learns in the same way. The 'one size fits all' curriculum often seen in schools leads to a predictable percentage of young people who disengage or drop out of school early.

Hands on Learning is an innovative education program that supports the different ways young people learn. The school-based program increases student achievement by creating opportunities for young people to discover their talents and experience success through practical learning out of the classroom.

The program has helped schools increase attendance by 50%, and boosted wellbeing and connectedness levels for Hands on Learning students to 80%.

Why alternative learning is so important

Children are individuals and what works for one may not work for another. That’s why it is so important to recognise a child’s strengths and challenges, and develop a suitable learning program that is catered to their needs to help them re-engage with their education.

Save the Children’s Hands On Learning program

In 2017, Hands on Learning and Save the Children joined forces to make it possible for more young Australians to stay connected to school and improve their educational and life outcomes. The program fosters strong, long-term relationships that help young people develop the skills and abilities they need to succeed in work and life, such as collaboration, problem solving, communication, resilience and empathy.

Artisan-teachers are employed by participating schools, and they work collaboratively with a small group of students from a range of age groups who are at-risk of leaving school early.

Hands on Learning motivates students to come to school regularly – the first step to improving educational outcomes. It then builds a platform for students to engage and achieve at school, satisfying basic needs like safety, belonging and self-esteem. The program also gives students strategies to shift attitudes and behaviours that have become barriers to success in the classroom, empowering students to make the most of school.

The hook that keeps young people at school

See how this incredible program is changing the way students feel about coming to school every day in Frankston, Victoria, and Gordanvale, Queensland:

How we know we’re making a difference

An evaluation conducted by leading researchers at Deloitte in 2012 demonstrated that Hands on Learning has dramatically improved the wellbeing, behaviour and engagement levels of students participating in the program.

For example, the evaluation showed a 54% drop in unexplained absences by Hands on Learning students who were previously skipping school. More than 80% of Hands on Learning students reported feeling connected and having a sense of belonging, compared with 43% of students who were not involved in Hands on Learning.

Teachers also reported dramatic improvements in behaviour, for example 67% of their students were able to follow instructions without argument, compared with 32% before the program was implemented.

The program was recently recognised for its innovativeness, impact and scalability by the Finnish education non-profit HundrED, who named it one of its 100 global most inspiring education innovations.

Banner image: Pauline Shultz/Save the Children

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