Woolworths Earn and Learn is a bi-annual promotion run by Woolworths for one month every other year in its stores across the country. Shoppers earn stickers which they can donate to their local schools and day care centres, who then exchange the stickers for educational resources.
How does Woolworths Earn and Learn work?
During the promotional period (usually 4 weeks in late Autumn/winter) shoppers earn 1 Earn and Learn sticker for every $10 they spend (this doesn’t include alcohol, cigarettes/tobacco, mobile recharge or giftcard purchases).
The stickers can be donated to local schools who are registered with the program, and at the end of the promotional period, the stickers are exchanged for products on the partner site Modern Teaching Aids.
Who can register for Earn and Learn
All primary schools, secondary schools, early learning centres, long day care and out of school hours providers in Australia are eligible to register for the Woolworths Earn & Learn program. You will need to nominate a Co-ordinator and ensure your school is registered before the deadline each year (note – this tends to change a bit every year).
In 2018 Woolworths donated over 45,000 educational resources to around 16,000 schools and pre-schools.
How much work is involved for the coordinator?
Apart from the initial registration the majority of time required is collecting stickers from your collection boxes (you can get one to place at the front of your local store(s) and one to keep at your school), and then transferring the stickers onto the special forms.
In 2019, there were 60 sticker spaces to a sheet. Our small school of 300 kids collected just over 19,000 stickers (that’s around 60 stickers or 1 sheet per child). It’s the kind of repetitive activity that can be done while sitting in front of the TV and would take a number of hours. It’s wise to have a small team of people (including older students) willing to help out, but it’s not difficult work.
At the conclusion of the promotion you have two weeks to finish transferring the stickers to sheets, count the sheets, and complete the form online. You do not need to post the sheets, but the final number needs to be signed off by two signatories (from the P&C, school Principal or Director) and you must retain all the sheets and signed forms for at least 6 months for validation purposes. If you don’t keep the sheets and are asked for proof of your totals, you will probably be judged ineligible and lose all rights to claim resources.
When you get your confirmation email (which can take a week or two), you are free to go online and start ordering. Keep in mind that there is a strict deadline before which you must order all your items. This often coincides with school holidays, so choose your coordinators wisely.
What can you get with Earn and Learn stickers?
The variety of resources is huge with more 10,000 educational items including art and craft, books and literacy resources, maths and STEM, digital technologies, puzzles and dress-ups, sports and science, teacher resources and furniture, storage and more.
Some random examples from the 2019 Woolworths Earn and Learn catalogue include:
LEGO EV3 Starter pack with core set and charger = 14,600 points (ie stickers)
4 x 60cm hula hoops = 240 points
30 pack Orbit Trainer tennis balls = 360 points
6 pack of Children’s Book Council of Australia chapter books = 1,799 points
Set of 6 32cm dolls with Aboriginal clothing = 4,799 points
Flashforge PLA 3D printer filament = 559 points
10 pack of 35g Bostik blu glue stick = 716 points
10 pack of Schleich farm animals = 2,859 points
How much is an Earn and Learn sticker worth?
Although it costs $10 (of shopping) to earn one Earn and Learn sticker, it is effectively worth around 5c when it comes to claiming items.
In other words $100 spent on groceries is worth 50c in redemption, and a full sheet of 60 stickers is worth around $3 in rewards.
This was determined by comparing the ‘cost’ of items in the Earn and Learn catalogue with the cost in dollars of the same items on the MTA website. For example the 10 pack of Schleich farm animals cost 2,859 points to redeem and cost $142.95 (ex GST) to purchase on the site. Therefore each sticker is equivalent to 5c.
The 6 pack of CBCA chapter books cost 1,799 points to redeem, and $89.95 (ex GST) to purchase, while the 10 pack of 35g Bostik Blu glue sticks cost 716 points to redeem and $42.95 (ex GST) to redeem (1 sticker = 6cents).
Interestingly, the 4 pack of hula hoops cost 240 points to redeem and would cost $54 (ex GST) to purchase, so it seems the cheaper the value of the good being redeemed, the more each sticker is ‘worth’ (1 sticker = 22.5cents)
It’s important to remember though that this is all ‘free’ for the school. Your community members would have done their grocery shopping anyway, so the stickers and the subsequent resources are just a bonus. While it is certainly a promotion and hugely profitable for both Wooloworths and MTA, it still results in considerable free resources being donated to schools across the country.
For example, with the 19,000 points that our school earned, we could get a LEGO EV3 robotics starter pack (valued at $730), the six pack of chapter books (valued at $89.95), a 10 pack of glue sticks (valued at $42.95), two rolls of 3D printer filament (valued at $55.90), a 30 pack of tennis balls (valued at $36) and 4 hula hoops (valued at $54). This is a combined value of $1,008.80 – not bad for a month’s worth of work – basically reminding the school community every week in the school newsletter, checking boxes 5 or 6 times, and a few hours sticking stickers in the evening.
It so happened that the first item I compared MTA’s price against other stores was the 10 pack of 35g Bostick Blu glue sticks. At a number of places including Woolworths itself and Officeworks, they were selling a single stick for $2, making MTA’s 10 pack at $42.95 more than double the going price.
However, when I compared MTA’s prices for the other items on my list – the 30 pack of Orbit tennis balls, the 6 pack of chapter books, the 3D printer filament – they were very close to the prices offered by other websites.
The 10 pack of Schleich animals do not seem to be offered as a set elsewhere on the internet, but could be purchased individually for around $98 (compared to MTAs $142.95), the lesson here being ‘choose wisely.’
Don’t expect your items to be waiting for you when you return to school in Term 3. There are tens of thousands of schools across the country waiting for their goodies, and your rewards will be dispatched, often at different times, throughout Terms 3 and 4. It’s unlikely everything will arrive at the same time.
Only full sheets count, so it’s worth reminding your school to check the bottom of their bags for every last sticker, or donate a half-filled sheet to another school. I did see some Earn and Learn stickers available on eBay in 2019, but asking between 10c and 50c for a sticker seems a little un-Australian.
What about Remote Schools?
There are a number of remote and rural schools who would benefit greatly from such a promotion, but are located too far from any of the stores. Schools can still apply to their nearest Woolies (even 4+ hours away) and ask to be included. At my local store in WA there was a specific box set aside for rural schools (which was absolutely overflowing every time I saw it) and the stickers in these boxes were being shared by around 120 remote schools from across the country. All you have to do is register.
How can you get bonus Earn and Learn stickers?
Eligible schools can book and attend a Fresh Food Kids Discovery Tour during a specified time and earn 500 bonus stickers, and Early Learning Centres who book and attend a Tour will receive 1000 bonus stickers.
What happens when the stores run out of stickers?
Unfortunately in 2019 there were many reports (especially in Queensland, New South Wales and Melbourne) of stores running out of stickers halfway (or even earlier) through the promotion.
Official comments were that Woolies printed more stickers than ever, but it still didn’t matter to the many thousands of people who were disappointed that they missed out on stickers, and were slamming the grocery giant on social media. Technically the T&Cs did say ‘while stocks last’ and it’s possible they just have a cap on how much they’re willing to contribute, but we can certainly hope that in 2021 this issue is not repeated.