Helping Hands Teach Independence and Goals


Whether their hands are “little” or not, everyone who comes to class at Little Hands
Design learns about fashion and textiles practically and creatively.Sixteen-year-old Helen, who has been a student at Little Hands Design for many years, says “
Little Hands sits in a niche in the education side of the Fashion Industry.” Many often focus on the abstract aspects of design, but Helen says Little Hands teachers focus on “providing you with invaluable skills both physical and mental which enable you to follow through in the design process and actually realise your ideas.”

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Founder Astrid Jacoby teaching students about design.

Teachers use several methods, but one of their aims remains constant: teaching children how to set goals. Little Hands Design encourages students to be independent and take responsibility for their own learning.

The BBC says “most teachers intuitively believe there must be something inclusive about learning styles” (BBC). It’s important for students to “make their own connections” and “make sense of the relationship between new and existing knowledge, values, and beliefs” (BBC).

Different types of learners flourish in courses at Little Hands, but there is still a clear structure. The students’ projects engage their problem solving skills and connect their senses, especially their hands, to their brains through kinesthetic learning.

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Little Hands student modeling her fashion piece.

Students abilities should not be underestimated or undervalued. It’s important to encourage children “to take on positions of responsibility” because goal setting provides them “ownership over their actions” (Kumon). When children are allowed to be independent, they develop resilience and a sense of control of their goals. This increases their self satisfaction and confidence when their goal is completed.

When M., age 10, first learned how to sew at Little Hands Design, she “had to try it on a piece of paper.” Later on, she made a skirt, which was a challenge because she “had to keep unpicking and resewing.” However, M. says she felt excited when she was done because she had finally finished it.

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Little Hands student working on her project.

M. learned about responsibility through a creative learning outlet, which is often overlooked in favor of analytical learning styles (Impact). She also learned how to correct her mistakes and the importance of perseverance. These lessons will enhance her long term educational development.

The teaching style used at Little Hands Design provides its students logic skills and a safe,empathetic environment to develop their individual styles. The students’ progress is tracked in their Make It Diaries, which helps them retain new information. The diaries also help students learn about planning and estimating the amount of time and effort their goals require.

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A student’s Make It Diary.

E., age 12, says that at Little Hands, “we don’t ask what to do next.” Instead, she says “we  suggest it” and “guide you toward the answer” and the student interprets what they should do next. This teaching style is a prime example of how Little Hands Design emphasises independence and allows students to gain their own conclusions from their work.

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Little Hands student modeling her London Fashion Week piece she made in class at Little Hands.

Teaching methods and learning styles differ widely, which is why it’s important to teach students to set and work towards goals independently. Helen says the students at Little Hands Design benefit from teaching methods that provide “skills that [are] transferable from project to project both within the course and outside it.”

Students at Little Hands Design are always working to improve, regardless of the challenges. That’s something anyone, little hands or not, can benefit from.

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Student modeling her work.

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