Hands on Learning is giving Daylesford Secondary College students another option at school

Hands on learning is giving students at Daylesford Secondary College a different pathway to stay engaged at school.

For one day a week, 13 students spend time working on building projects around the school and in the community in the innovative Hands on Learning program.

Daylesford Secondary College Hands on Learning coordinator Tania Dunn said it was the first year the program had run at the school and it was proving a hit with the students taking part.

“We haven’t got the structure of a classroom because some kids really struggle sitting in a classroom five days a week, six periods a day,” Ms Dunn said. 

“We focus on respect, responsibility and teamwork which is what you need when you go to work.”

Students in year eight and nine built boxes for storage and outdoor classroom seating, and have created decorated stepping stones leading to the new music room building. Working outside of the school, the Hands on Learning group helped plant at the Cornish Hill gardens. 

Hands on Learning schools development manager Lisa Vagg praised the school for taking on a program different to traditional schooling.

Other schools who have had Hands on Learning established longer have completed community projects including bridge building, landscaping, installing exercise stations, bushfire regeneration and community hall maintenance.

“The whole thing is about giving a whole range of students the opportunity to experience success at school. The important thing about Hands on Learning is that it’s located on the school site and caters for learning in a different way to enable students to build confidence, engage and achieve at school,” Ms Vagg said.

​“If they can have the opportunity to build success it builds their own confidence and what they can achieve. Self belief builds well-being which is a platform for literacy and numeracy success.”

Finnish education non-profit HundrED recently listed Hands on Learning among the 100 most inspiring education innovations from across the world.