A message from Life Ed NSW/ACT CEO, Jonathon Peatfield
2021 has been a challenging year for all. For many Australians, life was brought to a complete standstill as we endured once again through lockdowns and restrictions. Thank you to the teachers and child care specialists who went above and beyond to help families and children throughout school closures – our communities truly couldn’t do it without you.
Our children and young people have been some of those most vulnerable. After a disruptive year of home schooling and social disconnection, paired with unparalleled economic pressures on family life, the priority for building student resilience has never been higher.
According the results of our latest national survey, a disturbingly high number of parents rate the resilience of their children as “inconsistent” with 41% of parents doubting the ability of their kids to bounce back from setbacks and stresses.
- 81% of parents say mums and dads need extra help to deal with the issues of resilience
- 85% of parents agree or strongly agree that teachers and schools should be receiving more support to manage resilience
- 61% of parents want more funding for specialist education providers.
The ability to spring back from adversity is a quality the Life Education program has aimed to instil in all children and young people, as we equip then with the life skills needed to navigate the new norms of the world today. The team at Life ED NSW were determined to provide a swift response to the crisis, and while the last 12 months have challenged us, this pandemic year has also presented unique opportunities which have enabled our team to reach more students through innovative delivery methods.
For the first time ever, Healthy Harold’s important message directly entered the family home as we launched the Life Education Online learning platform to families and schools. The platform’s suite of engaging Health and Wellbeing content was able to act as a catalyst for family engagement, prompting dinner table conversations around healthy lifestyles and behaviours, and enabling different perspectives in knowledge and awareness to be recognised and affirmed as a whole family unit. Over 55,000 learners participated the Life Education Online program, learning skills and strategies on important topics such as cybersafety, positive relationships, nutrition, physical activity, and the impact of alcohol and other drugs.
Since establishing our first virtual classroom in 2020, the demand for Virtual education opportunities has exponentially grown. This had led to the rapid expansion of 5 virtual studio classrooms.
Throughout lockdown, all our virtual spaces were working full-time, live-streaming Healthy Harold’s lessons with our specialist educators to over 12,500 primary school students and 4,600 pre-schoolers, from any location they may have been learning from.
This year our organisation was contacted by many businesses, clubs, councils and individuals who were keen to lend a hand to make sure kids do not miss out on vital health education at a time they needed it the most. Read the support we received from clubs and councils here. It was with this assistance that we were able to expand our online and virtual program, to support schools and families when we couldn’t be there face-to-face.
Along with our virtual and online capabilities, our Outdoor Pop-up classroom has ensured we reached over 2,000 students in rural and remote communities.
Having the majority of our 60+ specialist educator team (who would normally be out on the road teaching) available to support with key projects and strategy has enabled us to progress in other areas of our business quicker. We’ve upskilled our team by running peer to peer training sessions, developed new education content and re-designed lesson plans for greater impact.
It has been impressive to witness our team adapt to an ever-changing environment, which was highlighted when Life Ed NSW undertook an Organisational Healthy Index analysis with Mckinsey & Company via a staff engagement survey. Life Ed came top of the class, with an overall health score of 93, which placed us in the top 10% of a global pool of organisations.
Importantly, it exemplifies how we’ve supported our educators and staff throughout this pandemic year, so they can continue to do their important work in helping to raise the next generation of healthy young Australians. I am especially proud of the passion, care and commitment our team has demonstrated at every turn.
As we close the year out, on behalf of Life Ed NSW we thank you for your ongoing support for our organisation. We are proud to have empowered over 265,000 students across NSW and ACT to develop the crucial skills needed to look after their physical, social and emotional wellbeing. We couldn’t reach this many children and young people without you.
We look forward to continuing our work in 2022 in ensuring every child has the opportunity to thrive. In the meantime, I wish you all the best for a happy and safe festive season and for a prosperous New Year ahead.
Chief Executive Officer