Children from Parkes were today the first in the State to experience a new-look outdoor Healthy Harold classroom, bringing health education to students in an innovative and exciting way at a time when they need it most.
Life Education, along with well-known mascot Healthy Harold, has been delivering health education to NSW school children for more than 40 years. For the past 10 years, more than 15,000 children from 16 schools in the Parkes region benefited from the program, normally delivered in the iconic Life Education Mobile Learning Centres (vans).
An agile alternative to the van, the Life Education pop-up outdoor classroom is designed to be used in schools that can’t accommodate a van or when a quick response is required. It fits in the back of a purpose-built ute and inflates in a matter of minutes.
Life Education NSW CEO Jonathon Peatfield said the new outdoor pop-up classroom will help Life Education to reach more children, across vast distances, faster than ever before, and in a COVID safe way.
Inside Life Education's new pop-up outdoor classroom
“Kids today are facing unprecedented challenges, with drought, bushfires and now COVID-19. Our mission – empowering our children and young people to make safer and healthier choices through education – has never been more important than it is now,” Mr Peatfield said.
In 2018, Life Education launched the first version of the pop-up classroom, designed to be used indoors in school halls. The latest outdoor version has even more versatility, with greater ventilation for hot weather and to assist with physically distancing during Covid-19.
“While a step away from the traditional mode of delivery, the outdoor pop-up classroom still boasts much-loved features of the van including cutting-edge technology, touch screens and interactive lessons – and of course, Healthy Harold,” Mr Peatfield said.
The Life Education pop-up outdoor classroom is designed to be used in schools that can’t accommodate a van
Mr Peatfield was in Parkes this week to attend the trial launch of the classroom with 350 students from Parkes East Public School. He was joined by Life Education NSW Board Director and Parkes Shire Mayor Cr Ken Keith and Deputy Prime Minister Michael McCormack.
Given his long-term support of Life Education, Mayor Ken Keith was delighted to see this new innovation in action.
“To see Life Education evolve in the shape of an outdoor classroom couldn't come at a better time and will ensure that students in our region continue to receive these important messages about a healthy lifestyle even through these uncertain times and well in to the future. Life Education should be congratulated on their agile approach to advancing their outreach in our area," he said.
Parkes East Public School Principal, Mr Michael Ostler added that "We were disappointed when Harold couldn't visit in the van earlier in the year (due to COVID-19) but jumped at the chance to be the first school in the state to utilise this outdoor option. I see this being an important way of getting across the healthy lifestyle message while maintaining the Healthy Harold magic."
The new Life Education outdoor pop-up classroom has been funded by the NSW Government, to ensure Healthy Harold continues to educate the next generation of young students.