Request a Quote

View Our Catalog

Fall success starts this summer! See our programs for Summer Learning. Learn More

Ugly Sweaters Can Be Educational: Mat Man Ugly Sweater Contest Provides Teachable Moment for Early Learners

Early Education Leader Learning Without Tears Looking for “Ugliest” Holiday Sweater for Beloved Educational Character Mat Man


WASHINGTON DC – December 9, 2021 –With the Holiday Season underway, Learning Without Tears, a leader in early childhood education, has launched “the ugly sweater” contest for its beloved educational character, Mat Man.  Open to young learners in any educational environment, students can design “ugly” holiday sweaters for Mat Man and submit them for consideration.  Whether in a classroom, a learning pod, being home-schooled, or in a parochial or independent school, this contest gives all students the opportunity to put their holiday cheer creativity to work.


For decades, educators around the world have embraced Mat Man, sparking the creation and sharing of teacher-made worksheets, flashcards, student activities, videos, and other resources through, Pinterest, Facebook groups, and other learning communities.


“Learning is taking place in any number of environments,” explained Eileen Hillebrand, Vice President at Learning Without Tears.  “This year, students in classroom learning environments, including charter schools and preschools, as well as students being homeschooled or in learning pods, are invited to submit ugly sweaters for Mat Man.”


To learn how to write letters – the first step to learning to read - young learners use wood pieces to put Mat Man together.  This year, whether or not students have access to Mat Man’s wood pieces, they can still participate and create ugly sweaters. “We made the pieces downloadable,” explained Learning Without Tears’ Hillebrand.  “We know all students aren’t in classrooms, and not every classroom has the components to create Mat Man. But this year, teachers, caregivers, and families can download the necessary pieces for free and join in this holiday fun to create memorable sweaters.”


To date, the no-cost Mat Man pieces have been downloaded more than 1,500 times.

In September, Learning Without Tears launched A-Z for Mat Man and MeÒ, a supplemental early literacy program that builds foundational literacy skills, with crucial social-emotional learning elements woven into books, lessons and activities. A beloved classroom presence for decades as part of other LWT foundational learning programs, Mat Man has evolved to reflect the diversity of today's classrooms and early learners.  A-Z for Mat Man and Me is diverse and culturally responsive – children encounter characters and situations in which they can see themselves, while also experiencing other cultures at the same time.

Learning Without Tears’ Mat Man downloadable pieces can be found here.

About Learning Without Tears
Learning Without Tears is a leading early education company offering a proven and unique approach to teaching and learning, from crucial readiness skills in Pre-K to foundational writing and typing skills, including handwriting, keyboarding and cursive. The elementary school-level programs benefit all learners with multisensory, developmentally appropriate, proven practices, and are used by millions of students around the world. LWT’s professional development programs deliver early education expertise to thousands of teachers, tutors, and occupational therapists in the US and across the globe.