Two San Jose-based nonprofit organizations, Junior League of San Jose and Resource Area For Teaching (RAFT), have partnered to advance early childhood education. Their multi-year initiative, Make Build Play, is founded on the practice of learning by doing to make math and science both fun and engaging for young children.

Junior League of San Jose is committed to fund the development of several new hands-on activities for children ages 4-8. They chose to partner with RAFT, a leader in hands-on education with a strong track record in K-12 education. As a result of this unique partnership, RAFT will expand teaching resources for early education providers. Exposing young children to high-quality learning opportunities prior to compulsory education has been proven to create long-lasting positive benefits including higher academic achievement, improved cognitive test scores, and greater likelihood of attending college.

“Engaging, hands-on learning experiences are especially important for young learners who are building confidence as they prepare for school,” said Grainger Marburg, RAFT CEO. “RAFT is excited for the opportunity to impact the learning of more young children through our partnership with Junior League of San Jose.”

Through Make Build Play, RAFT recently released two new hands-on activities that educators and parents can use with their own students and children. Mathematical Symmetry Model enables children to learn about symmetry and patterns through making dolls that are self-representational. Shape Fun allows students to investigate and discover geometric shapes while developing mathematical vocabulary. These activities add to RAFT’s library of more than 700 instructional guides for hands-on learning activities which utilize commonly found materials, and are the first developed with the specific goal of advancing early childhood education.

In addition to creating new educational activities, RAFT trained Junior League of San Jose members to teach young students at community-based events through libraries and community organizations. Make Build Play will host an educational activity open to the public in the Kid Fun Zone at the Applied Materials Silicon Valley Turkey Trot this Thanksgiving.

Hands-on learning provides tangible experiences that students use to better model, ask questions, investigate, analyze, and explain concepts. This ignites interest, nurtures natural curiosity, and also helps to develop important 21st century skills such as critical thinking, problem solving, and communication. 93% of educators who use RAFT hands-on activities report that their students are more engaged in learning and retain knowledge longer as a result of these activities.


About Resource Area For Teaching

RAFT believes the best way to spark the love of learning for the next generation of thinkers, innovators, problem-solvers and creators is through hands-on learning. A nonprofit organization since 1994, RAFT serves 12,000 educators each year who teach over 900,000 students. Find out more about RAFT and how to get involved at

About Junior League of San Jose

The Junior League of San Jose is an organization of women committed to promoting voluntarism, developing the potential of woman, and to improving the community through the effective action and leadership of trained volunteers. To learn more about our Junior League of San Jose, please visit our website at

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