Interview with Zara Margolis from ABC North West Queensland on 1 May 2020.
Zara Margolis: He’s the friendly educational giraffe that has spent more than 3 decades teaching school kids about how to live a happy and healthy life. Healthy Harold and Life Education bus regular visitors to schools in the north-west but not this year at least not for right now which is why I like many organisations they’re going online. Earlier this week saw the launch of Life Education @ Home, covering topics like staying safe and healthy during COVID-19, but also the regular Life Education lessons around nutrition and physical activity as well as cyber safety and social and emotional wellbeing. Michael Fawcett is the CEO of Life Education Queensland. Michael how much work has gone into turning your Life Education lessons, usually delivered in person, into online lessons?
Michael Fawsitt: Well I think like most organisations we had to move incredibly quickly given that we can’t deliver in schools across Queensland and of course in the North-West right now as much as we would want to, so yes, the team have done an amazing job in just the space of the last 6 weeks filming lessons with some of our amazing educators and then putting together educational activities to go with those lessons and also some terrific parent podcasts as well. So we’ve created an online platform called Life Education @ Home, which is for schools, but also for parents as well and we’ve got some great interviews with experts that I think parents are going to find really beneficial to them
Zara Margolis: Because with all this education that’s going on a lot of the debate has been you know about what it means for the education of the young people, the students, but also a lot of focus on what this means for educators, parents who then become educators what has Life Education been able to do to make that transition a bit easier? I’ve heard from a number of parents going and I’ve got a much richer appreciation for what educators do what do you have for them who may be still trying to navigate how they can deliver some of this learning themselves at home?
Michael Fawsitt: Well, we’ve made it as easy as we can, so on Life Education @ Home, when you log on you’ll find there are 10 interactive lessons that parents can make available to their children and schools, teachers can do the same for the for their class and those lessons have some great activities within them where children just pause, press pause, they do an activity and those are all downloadable, and then they continue on with the lesson. Each lesson is around about 20 minutes and it contains some really, really important health education content because I think right now staying healthy, but physically, socially and emotionally as has never been more important and we see this as a really vital online tool that parents and teachers can use to help keep children helping safe.
Zara Margolis: What are some of the specific things that the lessons cover?
Michael Fawsitt: Well everything from nutrition and eating healthy and of course for those of us who are working at home, when we’ve got a lot of time at home right now, it’s very tempting to have the fridge and the cupboard right there, it’s far too convenient in fact, so we’ve got a lot of really good tips both for parents and for children around staying healthy and eating healthy and also doing physical activity. We’ve even got short videos of Healthy Harold, one of them is how doing some exercises and dances that kids can join in with to help keep themselves active. The whole issue of cybersafety is one that I think even more important right now with a lot of young people spending time online and so we’ve got some great education there, lessons around relationships and being respectful and particularly online and we’ve also got a parent podcast with eSafety Commissioner Julie Inman-Grant for tips for parents around the whole issue of cybersafety as well.
Zara Margolis: You’re hearing from Michael Fawsitt. He’s the CEO of Life Education Queensland talking about Life Education @ Home, an online resource launched by the organisation to help new parents, teachers deliver some fun activities for your kids at home, or maybe in the classroom. Michael you said there’re 10 Lessons available right now is their plans to potentially, you know, depending how all this goes and pending what happens with COVID-19, to continue this type of avenue that Life Education‘s gone down?
Michael Fawsitt: Yes definitely. Regardless of what happens in the future, we want this platform to be one that can support the delivery that we do and our wonderful educators who go into schools and then deliver these amazing lessons, so certainly online will be there to support that and that was always in our strategy we just have to accelerate it much more quickly and our priority was let’s get this platform up, let’s get some content there that parents and teachers can use, and in the coming weeks and months we’ll be continuing to populate that with more resources, more activities, more educational content that will be beneficial to children.
Zara Margolis: So where to parents and educators need to go if they want to take advantage of some of these lessons?
Michael Fawsitt: Oh it’s really simple, just go to lifeeducationathome.org.au. You’ll be able to register, it takes a couple of minutes to log on and start using the platform and downloading some of that great content. And hopefully in the not too distant future, the Life Education program will be back in schools, we’re desperate to get back into the classroom and the mobile learning centres and support children that way as well, so let’s hope that we can do that sooner rather than later.
Zara Margolis: At least we know for now we can still spend time with Healthy Harold even if its just from home.
Michael Fawsitt: Yeah its exciting to be taking Healthy Harold into Queensland homes and I’m sure kids will lve it.
Zara Margolis: That was Michael Fawcett CEO of Life Education Queensland, now offering a number of online resources both kids and for parents maybe something that might benefit your family.