Children with disabilities have bigger challenges in accessing basic education during an emergency situation, i.e. blind children do not have access to Braille literacy. Children with disabilities and girls are easily isolated and ignored, not able to interact and learn with their peers in mainstream education. Teachers do not have right tools and resources to assist children with disabilities in learning and they often have little or no training in early intervention or inclusive education
The project consists of a device Reach & Match Learning Kit and Reach & Match Inclusive Learning Program. It is a researched-based educational tool combining literacy, sensory elements and interactive features for children disabilities to learn and engage equally in a mainstream environment. The program aligns with the Early Years Learning Framework that provides 7 learning outcomes with a holistic approach, including literacy, numeracy, motor, social and communication skills.
1. Children with ALL abilities aged 3-6 years old. The program is particularly beneficial for children with multiple disabilities, including visually impaired, intellectual and developmental disabilities, autism and limited fine motor skills/mobility
2. Traumatized children - to support their emotional development through storytelling and sharings
3. Teachers, carers - the program is designed to support teachers' implementation of inclusive education practices through play-based learning
Mission and Vision
Vision - All children with disabilities are able to learn and engage equally in schools.
Mission- By 2030, we aim to have the program reached 400 schools to benefit over 50,000 young children and 2000 teachers in 8 countries across the world.
HOLISTIC APPROACH & INTEGRATION CURRICULUM: Reach & Match was developed from team leader Mandy's master's research in co-design with a group of educators and early intervention specialists. The program includes over 30 activities and games based on 7 learning outcomes: Braille & Print Literacy, Cognitive Skills, Sensory Integration, Sense of Satisfaction, Language Enrichment, Body Movement and Social Interaction. This is not a separate program but is aligning with the early years framework which helps teachers to apply the program into their curriculum. For example, educators can apply Reach & Match into their English lesson, Maths lesson, PE lessons, Gross motor skills program, social skills program etc.
MOBILE, PORTABLE DESIGN & NO ELECTRICITY REQUIRED: It is easily transported to the refugee camps or schools for more children to enjoy its benefits. One or several kits can be used alone or packaged as part of an emergency school kits, the mats are expandable to accommodate a bigger group of children
Reach & Match is well-received and achieved awards including Good Design Award (Social Innovation), Red Dot Award (Education), James Dyson Award (Australian Winner) and Monash University Vice-Chancellor Social Inclusion Award. It is a significant improvement on existing products and its research driven by the specific needs of children with disabilities. It's innovation include:1. Encourage early Braille & print literacy 2. Embrace Inclusion: enables children with diverse needs to learn equally and teaches mutual respect and understanding and raises awareness of different forms of languages.3. The Inclusive Learning Program helps children to develop essential social and communication skills through activities and games4. Early Positive Emotional Development brings dignity, joy, support for disabled children5. Self-empowerment: well-designed activities are the first step for alternative functional skills of independence hence to achieve their full potential
Planned Goals and Milestones
We have a successful product which demonstrates validation and evidence to scale, we need to build a team with matched technical skills and right business model to support this niche product. Our program pilots in Solomon Islands, Papua New Guinea and Philippines are shown success and which will help us to determine the next best market to approach. We are currently trialing in emergency situations and how inclusive educational activities help children to relieve trauma by providing a sense of normalcy, a distraction from crisis stress. This can serve as a prototype template for the future disaster relief effort in other countries. Therefore, we are seeking further funding to expand our business in the existing countries and new countries.