Students at WA’s education support centres have swapped schoolbooks for stacking shelves and scanning items as part of a supermarket learning program for those with special education needs.
Mini Woolies stores have opened shop at Eastern Goldfields Education Support Centre, Albany Secondary Education Support Centre, Avonvale Education Support Centre, Riverton Education Support Centre, and Kensington Secondary School, joining the existing two stores in WA schools.
Mini Woolies, an innovative learning and education tool for students with disabilities, involves a simulated Woolworths store complete with working cash registers, shelving, grocery items and uniforms.
The program provides students with hands-on experience in money handling, store receipts and bagging items.
It allows them to develop valuable workplace skills including numeracy, literacy, communication, finance and problem-solving in a real-world setting,
The aim of the program is to increase students’ confidence and independence and prepare them for future experiences in the wider community.
Speaking to the Kalgoorlie Miner, Eastern Goldfields Education Support Centre principal Mary-Ellen Pilason said the Mini Woolies facility would enable students to develop confidence for post-school settings.
“Students will be able to train and practice work skills but also build life skills of shopping in a safe environment which will help them to transition into a life-sized Woolworths store,” she said.
“They will learn skills such as patience and waiting and even just how to follow a grocery list.
“They’re all transferable skills so whether they work at Woolworths or somewhere else, they can use those skills in any industry.”
Ms Pilason said local schools and disability groups had expressed their interest in using the facility.
“We are really happy to open it up for other schools to use the facility and we have mentioned it to other principals,” she said.
“There lots of opportunities for students with disabilities in the city but not so much regionally, so this is a huge win for the Goldfields.”