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New school program builds Whittlesea connections

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Pam Kiriakidis
Pam Kiriakidis
Pam Kiriakidis has worked as a journalist at the North Central Review since 2022, with a particular focus on the City of Whittlesea and stories for the Whittlesea Review. She graduated with a Bachelor’s Degree in Media and Communications majoring in journalism and focuses on politics, community, and health with the occasional niche sports story finding its way in front of her.

By Pam Kiriakidis

Students at Diamond Valley Special Development School have been developing work experience skills with a new program that makes items for local businesses to sell.

Over the past month, few students at the Whittlesea campus have created jewellery out of polymer clay and dog biscuit bags to sell at businesses including Bazinga Clothing, Whittlesea Flowers and Bears, and Stone Real Estate.

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The students are excited to build their stock and sell them through the stores through the initiative that started last week.

Leading teacher Caitlin Winther said the new program promoted motor and literacy skills for students to practise and gain for the outside world.  

“It builds fine motor skills when making the earrings and placing them on cards or in boxes, as well as developing their art techniques and allowing them to use their creativity and decision-making skills,” she said.

“The program gives our students work experiences and enables them to have real work experience with money.”

Diamond Valley Special Development School student Mathew is part of the school’s program that helps build community connections by selling products through businesses in the City of Whittlesea.

In addition to preparing the items for the shops, the students were also part of a trial shop for the Whittlesea Community House ladies lunch, with students selling the products at Whittlesea Community Activity Centre.

Ms Winther said communication skills were one of the many areas the program was designed to improve, as students met their community peers.

“When selling their products, students get to use their social skill and work on communicating with different, unfamiliar, members of the public – this also allows us to teach the local community how our students communicate,” she said.

“The students take great pride in their work and in selling their products … you could see the pride on their faces when they sold their goods to customers.”

Ms Winther thanked the businesses for the opportunity and for supporting the students.

The next ladies lunch will be at Whittlesea Community Activity on June 22, from 11.30am to 1.30pm, with a gold coin donation appreciated.

For further information about the program, contact Caitlin Winther on 9688 8090 or by emailing caitlin.winther@education.vic.gov.au.

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