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Shepparton - Hands on Learning students thrive during lockdown

The Shepparton community may have had it extra tough over recent weeks, but that didn’t stop the Hands on Learning team at Greater Shepparton Secondary College from creating masterpieces while school attendance was restricted.
13 October 2021

While at home, Hands on Learning students were set a challenge by their artisan-teacher, Barb Rigano, to use design and make a project of their choice, using only materials available to them at home.

Hands on Learning students rose to the challenge. They used their initiative, creativity and resourcefulness to make items including planters, a straw bale teddy, a cat scratching pole, a succulent garden, water colour paintings, a chook swing using recycled furniture, a scale model of an outhouse model, a scooter ramp, a motorised pedal cart, and giant noughts and crosses game.

Hands on Learning is a proven school-based program supported by Save the Children Australia where two artisan-teachers work with a student team on meaningful projects to develop a connection and belonging to place (their school) and people (their teachers and peers). Hands on Learning has been running at GSSC campuses for five years supporting close to 100 students.
Barb Rigano, Hands on Learning artisan-teacher, Greater Shepparton Secondary College, said

Engaging with students remotely is difficult at the best of times. For students who are traditionally disengaged from school, it’s even harder. What makes these lockdown projects extra special, is that they were all created by students in their own spare time. No-one could leave their home and Hands on Learning wasn’t running, but I had an inkling that our students would relish the opportunity to get ‘hands on’ so I jumped in and set them a challenge: make or create something with the materials you have available at home. I was blown away by how many students responded – let alone the outcomes. I couldn’t be any prouder of our students.”
Lisa Vagg, Hands on Learning National Partnerships Manager, Save the Children Australia, said 

Hands on Learning is a Save the Children Australia program aimed at building a sense of belonging for students with their school. Making meaningful projects creates opportunities for students to engage with each other and their peers, sharing challenges, success and pride. With these projects undertaken in Term 3, the students’ have shone. Students were creative, adventurous and confident – this is a credit to them and their artisan-teachers, Barb Rigano, Justin Williams and Stephen Devlin”.
Anna Sloane, Assistant Principal, Greater Shepparton Secondary College, said “Barb has done an amazing job working remotely with our Hands on Learning students to produce these amazing projects.”
About Hands on Learning

Hands on Learning is an innovative education program that supports the different ways young people learn and their social-emotional development. 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.

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 run in over 120 schools around Australia and the United Arab Emirates.

Media contact: Angus Smith 0488 330 882 or

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