Over 150 remote schools across Australia will benefit from Woolworths’ Remote Schools Program, launched this year as part of the supermarket’s popular Earn & Learn initiative.
Launched in 2011, Earn & Learn has become one of Woolworths’ biggest community initiatives. Customers are given the opportunity to collect stickers to help schools obtain a variety of educational resources.
In 2019, Woolworths included the Remote Schools Program to ensure schools that may not be near a Woolworths store can still benefit from the Earn & Learn program via sticker donations from other local communities. As a result, remote and rural schools will now share in over 10,000 pieces of educational resources.
Since the program began, Woolworths has supplied over $61 million worth of educational resources. This year alone, Woolworths will deliver a record number of over 500,000 pieces of educational equipment to more than 14,000 schools across Australia.
Woolworths Head of Fresh Food Kids Programs, Sarah De La Mare said, “Every time we run this program, it grows and 2019 is no exception – it’s our biggest year yet. Thanks to the incredible contribution from communities across the country, we are able to develop the great minds of tomorrow.
“It has been heart-warming to see such a positive response to the new Remote Schools initiative. The generosity of our customers means that 150 remote and rural schools will have access to equipment that will positively enhance their academic future. This includes items such as magnetic whiteboards, essential everyday items such as blue tac and glue, right through to Bunsen burners and microscope slide sets that will help them on their learning journey.”
One of the schools benefiting from the Woolworths Earn & Learn Remote Schools Program initiative is a remote Victorian school with only 23 pupils. Tempy Primary School’s nearest Woolworths store is over 129km away in Swan Hill. But as a result of the Remote Schools Program, it will receive some much needed educational resources.
Tempy Primary School Principal Cheryl Torpey said, “Our very small school, and schools across the country who are remote like us, have been blessed with fantastic support by those who chose to donate their stickers to the Remote Schools Program. The Woolworths Earn and Learn Program allow us to not only provide art supplies and sporting equipment, but also fantastic resources that normally our school could not afford.”
Since Earn & Learn was launched, Woolworths has seen changing trends in the educational resources wanted by Australian schools.
Redemption of items via this year’s program has revealed a growing trend of schools redeeming robotics equipment, with popular items including virtual reality headsets and tools for coding.
In 2011, only 2.2% of the total resources redeemed by schools registered for Earn & Learn were from the robotics category, growing significantly to 14.6% this year.
Other popular items for redemption in 2019 include LEGO construction sets to help children develop fine motor skills while constructing; Indigenous resources such as Aboriginal art puzzles and dreamscapes; and sporting equipment including outdoor games kits and dexterity balls. Schools across the country also ordered over 30,000 tennis balls.
Matthew Arecco, Chief Operating Officer at Modern Teaching Aids, an educational resource supplier to schools and early childhood centres, said, “We’re seeing trends in schools redeeming new kinds of resources, highlighting how the classroom has changed since Earn & Learn was first established in 2011.
“To ensure children are prepared for the future, the program’s curriculum-aligned resource range is designed to help teachers deliver the right learning outcome in the classroom. In recent years, we have seen a significant uplift in schools redeeming digital technologies such as robotics and tools for coding, as well as STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths) resources.”
Information & Communication Technology (ICT) was the leading resources category across most states and territories, except New South Wales and the Australian Capital Territory, which selected Mathematics as their preferred type of equipment to receive.