“Healthy Harold is iconic, of course. But the Life Education program is so much more than Harold. It’s the discussions I have with students about nutrition, exercise, respectful relationships, playing games online and cybersafety – it’s great to see after a session students comparing their lunchbox snacks and whether they are ‘sometimes’ or ‘everyday’ foods,” said educator Natalie.
Natalie commenced her role at Life Education Queensland in January 2020 after completing a Bachelor of Health Science with a major in Nutrition.
A typical day in her role as a health and drug educator means each week during the school term Natalie is visiting different schools in Queensland in the iconic mobile learning centre with Healthy Harold.
Whether it’s visiting schools out in the Gold Coast, Brisbane, Ipswich or out west at Mt Isa – it’s a role where each day is different delivering the program to eager students.
“There’s so many memorable moments I’ve experienced while teaching at Life Education,” said Natalie.
“Some students say a Life Education visit is their favourite time of the year and some students say that Harold has grown bigger.”
“From funny stories of students and comments through to memorable ‘A-ha’ moments when students make that connection and understanding with the content. Especially in bCyberwise and Relate Respect Connect. You can see it’s ticking over in their mind and understanding what it means to them.”
What makes the Life Education program so engaging from Natalie’s point of view is the whole experience.
From the engaging way the educators present to the students, videos about the topics, group activities to involve students in the learning, Healthy Harold, topics that students want to learn and talk about through to the iconic van with the night sky – it always brings out a positive response for the students.
“One of the modules that I think resonates most with students in schools I have visited would have to be the bCyberwise module which focuses on cybersafety, cyber ethics and building positive relationships with friends online and offline,” said Natalie.
“All the students I teach are digital natives and have been living with this technology their whole life.”
“They want to talk about what games they love, their experiences with cybersafety, cyberbullying and what strategies they use in their home as well.”
“The main takeaway from students is understanding there are a lot of risks online and they should always have their parents and guardian’s permission.”
“Many students mention their parents or carers don’t have oversight of their online accounts. It’s a great way for students to start those conversations with parents so they can become more aware of parental controls that are a great idea to put in place if they have not done so already.”
During her visits within the last year Natalie believes one of the biggest issue’s students face for Gold Coast and Brisbane schools would have to be respectful relationships.
Whereas in regional area the biggest issue students face would be around drugs, alcohol, healthy foods – more of a focus on physical health and wellbeing.