Sandi Robb founder of StampIT gives us an insight into the exciting youth programme.
Within stamps lies an entire world of language and culture and that’s what inspired Sandie Robb to create StampIT. StampIT is an exciting youth programme that uses stamps to learn about other subjects. There is a ‘Language of Stamps’ series with games for Spanish, French, Japanese, Mandarin and Gaelic and the ‘Geography of Stamps’ series similarly uses stamps to learn about the world.
Sandie collected stamps as a child and now she is a qualified teacher with a job in education that focuses on language learning. Sandie wanted to re-introduce stamp collecting to our youth but with a fresh modern look to the hobby.
StampIT started in 2004. It has evolved in so many ways since then. Originally doing outreach to schools and youth groups, then production of language games and now entering the online world with a fantastic new website which will continue to evolve and have games not only to download but to play online.
StampIT aims to let children discover stamps through fun interactive games and activities. ‘I want children to discover stamps as tools for learning, as inspiration for art, for finding facts and just for fun.’ says Sandie.
The educational games are high quality, tested by teachers and children with some amazing feedback. Recently complete learning packages have been developed, the first of these are the Mandarin learning packages for lower and upper primary levels. Feedback from Fiona Normansell, Language Development Officer at South Ayrshire Council says: ‘Let’s Look at China through stamps is an engaging and innovative interdisciplinary project which covers a variety of topics whilst learning many Mandarin basics. The stamps are beautiful and pupils have been really engaged in the project. They have their own booklet to write in as well as a range of activities such as Chinese brush painting, clay modelling and they are also using catalogues to find out information about stamps.’
The main feedback of StampIT from children is that they never realised there were so many stamps and so many stamps with interesting, fun pictures on them. The main comment from adults is ‘Oh I (or a family relative) had a stamp collection, I must go look it out!’
StampIT runs on a small budget. Sandie gives her time voluntarily and she is supported by the Association of Scottish Philatelic Societies. Stamp Active and the Scottish Philatelic Trade Association also donate funds and StampIT now has the accreditation of The Philatelic Traders’ Society.
StampIT also offers some of the more traditional stamp collecting tips within its ‘Stampy things’ section but still with a different take on it. As Sandie states: ‘Stamp collecting has to compete in a world with so many exciting activities and hobbies. Therefore stamp collecting has to move with the times and that means taking a different, fresh look at how we present stamps, how competitions are run and how we use stamps. Although I appreciate the value of stamps and certainly include some of the basics on how to look after stamps, I also believe we have to throw away the rule book and look at stamps with fresh eyes!’
Sandie Robb, ASPS Development Officer and RZSS Language Project Coordinator
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StampIT website - scottishphilately.co.uk/moodle