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The Resource Area for Teaching (RAFT) started with an idea. What if:
- Every child could get excited about learning through collaborative "hands-on" activities?
- Every educator could obtain low-cost materials and the training to use them in "hands-on" projects?
- 21st Century learning skills developed through "hands-on" education could become pervasive and improve educational outcomes?
RAFT's mission is to help educators transform the learning experience through "hands-on" education that inspires the joy and discovery of learning. We are doing this today with over 10,000 educators in the classroom, doing home-schooling, or working in after-school or community-based programs. RAFT's products, services and low-cost teaching supplies enrich and improve the education of over 825,000 young people each year.
"Hands-on" education translates abstract and complex subjects into activities that young learners, literally, can grasp, and nurtures their natural inquisitive and interactive traits. While "hands-on" education is a proven best practice for engaging and motivating young learners, educators face many challenges to adopting this approach. They must envision and design creative projects that are aligned with instructional goals, spend valuable personal time in finding the materials needed to do these activities, and most often pay for all of this out of their own pockets.
RAFT helps overcome the barriers to "hands-on" education. RAFT develops innovative "hands-on" project idea sheets and pre-packaged activity kits created around important concepts in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) as well as reading and art. Through workshops, project development support and mentoring, RAFT also helps educators to create their own "hands-on" activities, and gain the knowledge and confidence to use them.
To make "hands-on" instruction affordable, RAFT underwrites its education activities through grant and donor support. To provide kits and materials at low cost, the organization has developed an innovative supply chain process that converts commonly found or discarded materials from the corporate community into "hands-on" project kits with the help of thousands of volunteers. A Certified Green organization, RAFT provides an abundance of inexpensive materials while helping to preserve the environment. We are proud to receive many outstanding reviews on Great Nonprofits.
Founded in 1994, RAFT is a thriving non-profit organization with Learning Resource Centers in San Jose and Redwood City, CA as well as affiliates in Sacramento, CA and Denver, CO.
If you are an educator RAFT is the place to come!
If you want to help RAFT improve education in your community and prepare young learners to tackle 21st Century challenges, there are many ways to get involved!