What’s included in this month’s Pulse:
Welcome to our last Pulse newsletter for 2023, a year which has been marked by growth, innovation, and ongoing impact in our work with Queensland children. I’m inspired by the feedback we receive from teachers, parents and students on a daily basis. I’m inspired by our educators who participate in continual professional development to be able to deliver our program to provide the best possible educational outcomes for children. And I’m inspired by our staff, committees, Board, donors and supporters. Without your passion, we couldn’t do what we do.
This past financial year, Life Ed Queensland reached 845 primary schools and preschools across the state and close to 180,000 students participated in our sessions. We also reached 8,904 teachers.
Next year, our program will continue to innovate as we get ready to launch a new vaping education module Take a Breath, and new personal safety module within the relationships and sexual health education program, Talk About It. Called Safe Kids, Safe Bodies, the module focuses on empowering children in Prep to Year 2 with important protective behaviours.
We’ll also continue to meet the demand from schools to support children’s physical, social and emotional health and wellbeing, with our focus on respectful relationships, personal safety, cybersafety and consent education, and educating children about the harms of drugs, alcohol, smoking and vaping.
I want to take this opportunity to thank you for your ongoing support of our work with children in schools across Queensland and wish you a very safe and happy Christmas and New Year.
From Thursday Island in Far North Queensland to Mt Isa and Doomadgee in the west, and Stanthorpe in the south, our intrepid team of educators have taken Life Ed to all corners of the state this year. They’ve inspired, motivated and educated … and brought delight along the way. Read about some of our program highlights from the year and see the fun photo montage of our educators in action.
Delivering thousands of sessions each year, our educators impart messages to young people that resonate long after the Life Ed session has ended.
When not teaching, many of our educators were busy engaging in community outreach including Queensland Mental Health Week activities and the Beach Day Out in Rockhampton, a popular event for children with disabilities and special needs.
And they still found time to take part in ongoing professional development, attending a range of courses and conferences on mental health, first aid training, social and emotional wellbeing in the early years, and relationships and sexuality education.
Take a look at our amazing educators in action throughout the year.
Brisbane mother Natasha Clarke joined the Life Ed Queensland Kids Protect Team three years ago. She says her monthly donation is her family’s way of contributing to the wellbeing of children in our community. “I find it rewarding to know that programs like Life Ed are available to children across Queensland and that my ongoing support plays a small role in this,” Natasha says.
Natasha decided to become a Life Ed donor supporter when her son and daughter were in their early primary school years.
“As a family we were challenged with many conversations about personal safety and guiding our children to make good choices for their health and wellbeing,” Natasha explains.
“When the Life Ed fundraisers talked to me about the program, I found it inspiring to know there was an organisation focused on educating children across Queensland about the same topics we were tackling as a family.”
Natasha’s eight-year-old daughter attended the Life Ed program with her Year 2 class at school this year and the messages resonated strongly.
“She has taken away messages around personal safety; in particular, seeking assistance from authorities and finding trusted people to support her. I love that these messages are reinforced through school visits from programs such as Life Ed.
“As a parent of primary school aged children, the work Life Ed does around personal safety – be it physical or cybersafety – really resonates with me. We try to educate ourselves as parents and teach our children as much as we can, but programs like this, reinforce what is being taught at home, and give children the opportunity to learn new information and tools to keep them safe.”
“The information provided by Life Ed is so important to the success of our young people, who are growing up in a world that is ever more complex. Life Ed is another avenue for parents, schools and the community to give children exposure to the topics and tools they need to navigate the world.”
Natasha says she enjoys receiving the regular Pulse newsletters which highlight Life Ed’s work and finds it rewarding being part of the Kids Protect Team.
“I would say to people who are considering contributing, investigate the difference the program makes and consider giving what you can.
“I know my small contribution helps the program. I’ve seen this firsthand with my daughter. I like to think my support means the program can reach other young children that through circumstance may not have the same opportunities or access to this type of education.”
Meet our new Toowoomba educator Natalie who is passionate about helping young people reach their full potential. After 14 years as an outdoor adventure-based educator working with teens, Natalie has moved indoors to deliver the Healthy Harold program to primary school children across the Toowoomba-Stanthorpe region. She says each day brings a new reward.
Natalie says working for Life Ed Queensland is an exciting new chapter in her career.
“I am looking forward to sharing the messages of the program and being able to get children engaged in learning. For example, with the Relate, Respect, Connect module, there are so many important learnings about connecting with others that can help children throughout their school years and beyond.
“I love the energy of children,” Natalie says. “They always have something new that they bring. They make you see things from a different perspective, and I actually find myself learning quite a lot from them.”
In her spare time, Natalie is completing a Graduate Diploma of Counselling through University of Southern Queensland and loves camping with her husband and eight-year-old daughter.
Before joining Life Ed, she was an outdoor educator for Ironbark, a pioneering program based at St Peter’s Lutheran College. The program encourages Year 9 students to discover their individual strengths through a five-week farm life experience focused on getting back to nature, teamwork and persistence.
Natalie was also a horse-riding instructor as part of the program.
“In that role, I talked to young people a lot about building relationships, not only with the horses, but also with their own personal relationships. As an educator, it’s a two-way street: getting to know them but also being open enough to let them get to know you.
“I’m keen to draw upon those experiences in my new role with Life Ed Queensland and hopefully have a positive impact on children in terms of their health and wellbeing education.
“When you find that way to relate to young people, it is very rewarding.”
Many children and teens enjoy video gaming but when does a hobby cross the line and become a harmful addiction? The World Health Organisation now acknowledges gaming disorder in its list of diseases. Psychiatrist and documentary host Dr Kim Le, unpacks gaming addiction in our latest Life Ed podcast for parents. Find out what impact it’s having on young people and what you can do to address the problem.
Dr Le says that severe cases of gaming addiction are leaving parents at breaking point with young people not sleeping or eating, or refusing to go to school, because of their obsession with playing online video games.
Dr Kim Le highlights the hook, habit, hobby, hazard and harm methodology of video game designers and explains how to break the gaming circuit.
If you’re a parent or interested in the impact of gaming on mental health, this 27-minute interview covers what you need to know about an issue that’s becoming a huge problem for more and more families.