At the age of 10, Ipswich youngster Sofia already knows that smart life decisions will have a significant impact on her future health, wellbeing, safety and happiness.
A student at Silkstone State School, Sofia has her sights set on becoming a paediatric nurse when she grows up. So, she loved it when Life Ed educator Sara visited her school recently to present the Decisions module to her Year 5 class. Targeted at upper-primary students, the session explores the difference between legal and illegal drugs and looks at how family, peers, media, culture, financial and legal factors influence decision making.
The unit empowers students with decision making skills by looking at choices, consequences, responsibility, facts, and influences.
“I love it when Healthy Harold comes to my school because he makes it so much more fun and it’s easier to learn when it’s fun,” Sofia said.
Sofia’s mum Alex said her daughter found the Decisions session informative and engaging.
“Sofia told me that she learned that not all drugs are bad – if you have a headache, you can take paracetamol – and that gave us a good opportunity to talk about how some drugs are medication. For example, we’re all asthmatics in our family so we have asthma medication,” Alex said.
“She also talked about what types of drugs are bad and what effect they have on you, and why it’s not a good idea to take drugs or give in to peer pressure.”
Sofia knows that simple everyday positive choices will help her achieve her goals, now and in the future.
“She realises that even just the choice she makes in class each day whether she wants to sit down and chat with friends or concentrate on her work will determine whether she’s learning the material in class and whether she gets the grades that she wants and the job opportunities she is aiming for later in life.”
Sofia has also been able to apply her Life Education session to help manage friendship issues at school.
“At the end of the term she had a falling out with one of her friends. One of her friends was being a bit mean and saying nasty things,” Alex said.
“Rather than retaliate, she took a mature approach and chose to stay calm, ask her friend to stop and then just ignored the behaviour and continued with her other friendships.”
Alex says that participating in the Life Ed program throughout her primary school years has given her daughter excellent life skills, including resilience and empathy for others.
“I have noticed that she’s very switched on to other people’s emotions and trying to comfort them or to read them,” Alex says.
“She’ll say to me, ‘Mummy, you look stressed. Come here, I’ll give you a hug.’”
Like many parents, Alex believes the Life Education program is a vital part of the primary school experience – not only offering children important preventative health messages but empowering them to make positive choices to support physical, social and emotional wellbeing.
“You have parents at home who tell children what to do; teachers at school are teaching them the curriculum; so, it’s nice to have someone outside of those two relationships who makes education about everyday life things, interesting and fun, and it’s a visit to the school so it’s not someone that they see or hear from every day.”