If you grew up in New Zealand between the ’90s and now, you were probably lucky enough to experience the joy that is Harold the Giraffe.
Harold, the resident mascot of Life Education’s mobile classrooms, makes learning fun.
For over 30 years, Harold has been bringing smiles to Kiwi children’s faces and empowering them with knowledge to make positive choices.
Featuring the trusted fuzzy walls, glow-in-the-dark ceiling stars and pull-apart human body models, and the newer addition of digital technology, the Life Education bus is a contender for most children’s “highlight of the school year.”
Western Bay of Plenty Life Education teacher Chantelle Smith says Harold is as popular as ever.
“When the kids see the mobile classroom parked at their school, they get really excited! They love seeing Harold and often write him letters or make him cards and pictures. Even the 8th graders still want to see Harold.”
Chantelle Smith. Photo: Delivered/SunLive.
“The mobile classroom is also a first for new teachers – they fondly remember the time they spent with Harold as a child.”
Life Education Trust Western Bay of Plenty recently received a $23,000 TECT grant to support the continued delivery of its educational programs across the region.
The teaching modules include Identity and Resilience, Relationships and Communities, Food and Nutrition, Human Biology and Substances.
These were developed based on the four main health challenges Tamariki face while growing up: mental health and well-being, bullying, obesity and substance use.
The curriculum adapts to changes in society to accommodate new challenges Tamariki may face.
Educators are supported with professional development opportunities to support their own learning and teaching of these new subjects.
For example, Chantelle Shares resources were created to support learning around vaping.
There has also been increased focus on mental health, which has been positively received by schools and parents.
“Sometimes a school will ask me to hold a parents’ meeting so I can let them know what their child is going to learn. After a fear-based parent interview, one parent came up to me and said how great it is that we are teaching them this in elementary school because it is definitely necessary.”
According to Chantelle, the mobile classroom has also evolved to take advantage of modern technology.
“The classroom is equipped with some really cool technologies, such as B. Screens for videos and color-changing lights that I can use to enhance learning and make classes more engaging.
“I always wished I had a classroom like the Te Papa Museum and now I feel like this!”
Chantelle develops a customized lesson plan for each school she attends based on the school’s goals or needs at the time. As a qualified teacher, she breathes life into the curriculum and creates a fun and safe environment for students to participate and share their thoughts.
A day of classes typically consists of four to five sessions, and depending on the size of the school, Chantelle can be based at the school for anywhere from one day to four weeks.
There’s a lot of work behind the scenes when you’re an educator, adds Chantelle.
“Outside the classroom I communicate with the school organizer, schedule meetings with staff and create lesson plans and materials and keep an eye on classroom maintenance e.g. B. the certification of electric cables and fire extinguishers as well as the cleaning of the carpets. ”
Helena Brocket, Executive Officer of the Life Education Trust Western Bay of Plenty, says funding is essential to delivering the education programs across the Western Bay of Plenty.
“Funding ensures the security of our educator’s role and ability to deliver the Healthy Harold program as it helps cover the shortfall in the true cost of class visits while charging schools less than a third of the true cost .”
TECT is pleased to support Life Education so the programs can continue to empower our Tamariki and Rangatahi to make positive choices.
“Harold continues to captivate Tamariki like he did my own children a generation ago! Life Education does a fantastic job of teaching young people how special and unique they are and the awesomeness of the human body and its systems through engaging, interactive classes,” says TECT Trustee Mark Arundel.
“Life Education offers a truly special educational experience that Kiwis will fondly remember for years.”