Hands On Learning

Hands On Learning is an innovative education program that caters to the different ways young people learn.

Two artisan-teachers work collaboratively with small groups of cross-age students on authentic building projects that provide a platform for students to engage, grow confidence and achieve success at school.

Hands On Learning fosters strong, long term relationships that help young people develop the skills and abilities they need to succeed in work and life like collaboration, problem solving, communication, resilience and empathy.



How it Works

One Day, Every Week

  • Ten students, two artisan-teachers, one day out of the classroom every week.
  • Girls and boys from different year levels are referred by wellbeing staff, year level co-ordinators and school leadership teams.


HOL Artisan-teachers are employed directly by schools while Hands On Learning Australia provides support through quality assurance and ongoing training and development.


Canine Therapy

Therapy dogs work with Wellness Coordinators and teachers in schools.

They come to work each day and become part of the Wellness Team, working with children with anxiety, anger issues and to help young children with their reading and communication skills.  Dogs offer unconditional love and support. They do not judge. They are known to lower blood pressure and anxiety, giving children the ability to communicate.

Jackson School has a therapy dog.  Dusty is a pure breed golden retriever. At present, he is still in the puppy stage. He will be based in the engagement room and be under the care of Helena McAloon who owns the dog.

Dusty will be trained as a therapy dog when he is approx. 7/8 months old, however we feel he would benefit from growing up around the school and the students. This will also give the students a chance to see him grow. He has already made many friends here at Jackson. Dusty will be present at school two mornings a week until he is fully trained as a therapy dog. This includes short walks around the grounds and visits to classrooms.

Evidence has shown that therapy dogs can enhance children’s psychological development, improve social skills, and increase self-esteem among other benefits. Dogs can also teach responsibility, compassion, and respect for other living things. Dogs in the classroom can be used to calm fears, relieve anxiety and teach skills.

They give permission for children to just be themselves.

  • The aim of Canine Therapy program is to improve wellbeing for students. This will be achieved through improving socialisation skills, confidence and self-awareness and self-regulation skills.
  • These competencies are linked to Victorian Curriculum standards and it is expected that all teachers cover these learning outcomes and are able to assess them, as per expectations related to the entire Victorian Curriculum.
  • A small selection of students will be the target group for this project to begin with, and as the program progresses, it will be implemented more broadly across the school.
  • The objectives of this project are to improve student engagement, increase attendance, assist in managing behaviours, decrease anxiety for both students and staff.  Evidence will be gathered to show improvement in student outcomes within a particular cohort of the school.

Understandably, parents may be concerned about potential allergic reactions to dogs within the school environment. Dusty will be regularly groomed to minimise allergic contact. Dusty will only be put in situations where students voluntarily participate thus avoiding risky contact.