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Hands on Learning

Hands on Learning is a practical wellbeing program that supports the social and emotional development of young people and the different ways they learn.

Practical wellbeing for young people

Everyone learns better when they are safe, relaxed and interested. When we belong and when we have a platform to achieve – anything is possible.
Hands on Learning is a practical school-based program that runs in more than 130 primary and secondary schools across Victoria, Tasmania, New South Wales and Queensland. The program builds wellbeing, engagement, and 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 students feel more confident, self-aware, build positive relationships with peers and try new things.

Why learning by doing 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 different ways for them to experience success. This helps them engage with their education and develop the social and emotional skills to thrive at school, at work and throughout life.

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 engaged and connected to school and improve their educational and life outcomes.
The program allows students to partake in practical projects like building or repairing infrastructure, or running a café, to develop confidence, self-awareness, collaboration, problem solving, communication skills, and empathy. With the support of artisan teachers, employed by partner schools, who are both role models and mentors, students are equipped with the social and emotional capacities they need to succeed in work and life.
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. 

How we know we’re making a difference

Hands on Learning provides students with the conditions to flourish and an opportunity to succeed. Hands on Learning has dramatically improved the wellbeing, attendance and engagement levels of students participating in the program. A 2021 analysis of pathways data from 13 schools found 95 percent of Hands on Learning students: finish school, get an apprenticeship, or get a job.
Parents have noticed the changes too. Between 2018-22, 85 percent of parents said that since being in Hands on Learning their child’s confidence has improved and 77 percent said that Hands on Learning is the main reason their child has been engaged and motivated to come to school.
The program has also been 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.

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