3 May 2024: Woolworths’ Mini Woolies programme is spreading its wings across Tāmaki Makarau with its second school opening at Central Auckland Specialist School. This comes a month after the programme’s initial launch at Sommerville School in Panmure.

Mini Woolies is designed to give students with disabilities practical learning experiences by bringing an actual supermarket into an educational setting. Students experience learning in a comfortable and fun way - gaining the literacy, numeracy and vital communication skills in a vibrant room that transforms into a mini supermarket.

Filling their baskets with real groceries, using a cash register to make transactions, creating shopping lists, and providing the best customer service, the hope is that students will develop confidence, independence and connectedness to their local community. Products in the Mini Woolies are also used in classroom activities.

Central Auckland Specialist School (CASS) caters towards students with special educational needs between the ages of 5 and 21. The school first opened in 2018 from the merger of central Auckland schools (Carlson School for Cerebral Palsy and Sunnydene Special School), both of which were closed in January this year. The Mini Woolies is located in a site on campus and is supported and supplied by the local Woolworths Three Kings.

“Together, we’re building a bright future for students at CASS, and we couldn’t be prouder to be supporting the incredible work of the school by introducing this new learning environment,” says Spencer Sonn, Managing Director of Woolworths New Zealand.

“Our aspiration is to make Mini Woolies accessible to students across New Zealand, allowing many more rangatahi to practice real world skills in a simulated grocery environment.”

Australia paved the way for the introduction of Mini Woolies to Aotearoa. Since its 2018 launch, the programme has been introduced in many local communities. More than 5,600 students with disabilities have been through Mini Woolies in Australia with the 50th site opening in November last year.