Helping kids by getting hands-on

Students paint fence pickets as part of the Hands on Learning program. 198228

Disengaged students can often struggle in the confines of a classroom.

That’s why Mount Evelyn Primary School is working to provide these types of students a place to reside and stimulate their minds.

The school celebrated its Hand on Learning (HOL) program on 20 September, with parents coming to see projects students had delivered since the start of this year.

The HOL program allows at-risk or disengaged students to take part in hands-on projects that help keep them in school and make school life more enjoyable.

They attend the program every Friday and work on different activities such as gardening, landscaping, constructing furniture and painting.

Kids involved also received a uniform with high-visibility tops and jumpers.

Mount Evelyn Primary School HOL organiser Jessica Harris said the program is designed to help students feel better in both school and daily life.

“If their behaviour’s not so great in class you hope that they will find a sense of place here and then that behaviour translates back to the class,” she said.

“That’s the ultimate goal, it doesn’t always happen but that’s what we’re hoping, that they just feel better within themselves.”

Mel Cooper is the mother of a student involved in the program.

She said she had noticed a considerable difference in her son’s behaviour since he started the program.

“He is very hands-on with everything he does so being out of the classroom has really helped him,” she said.

“There’s not much else around like this, it definitely suits these kids that aren’t good at sitting still and sitting at a desk with a book.

“Friday is his favourite day, he gets up and gets ready for school without any questions.”

Grade 6 student and HOL member Khalen Thiele said he really enjoys the chance to get out of the classroom and do hands-on projects.

“I’ve got a super, super amount of energy and it helps me because I’m out of class getting my hands dirty and actually running around,” he said.

“Class is fun because you’re with your friends but I struggle to sit down a long time.

“I like being in Hands on Learning because I can run around and actually get energy out of my system.”

For more information about the Hands on Learning program visit