Ways to Get Involved

Healthy Harold pops up in parkes in a new outdoor classroom

Tuesday, 15 Sep 2020

Children from Parkes were today the first in the State to experience a new-look outdoor Healthy Harold classroom, bringing health education to students in an innovative and exciting way at a time when they need it most.

Life Ed, along with well-known mascot Healthy Harold, has been delivering health education to NSW school children for more than 40 years. For the past 10 years, more than 15,000 children from 16 schools in the Parkes region benefited from the program, normally delivered in the iconic Life Ed Mobile Learning Centres (vans).

An agile alternative to the van, the Life Ed pop-up outdoor classroom is designed to be used in schools that can’t accommodate a van or when a quick response is required. It fits in the back of a purpose-built ute and inflates in a matter of minutes.

Life Ed NSW CEO Jonathon Peatfield said the new outdoor pop-up classroom will help Life Ed to reach more children, across vast distances, faster than ever before, and in a COVID safe way.

Inside Life Ed’s new pop-up outdoor classroom

“Kids today are facing unprecedented challenges, with drought, bushfires and now COVID-19. Our mission – empowering our children and young people to make safer and healthier choices through education – has never been more important than it is now,” Mr Peatfield said.

In 2018, Life Ed launched the first version of the pop-up classroom, designed to be used indoors in school halls. The latest outdoor version has even more versatility, with greater ventilation for hot weather and to assist with physically distancing during Covid-19.

“While a step away from the traditional mode of delivery, the outdoor pop-up classroom still boasts much-loved features of the van including cutting-edge technology, touch screens and interactive lessons – and of course, Healthy Harold,” Mr Peatfield said.

The Life Ed pop-up outdoor classroom is designed to be used in schools that can’t accommodate a van

Mr Peatfield was in Parkes this week to attend the trial launch of the classroom with 350 students from Parkes East Public School. He was joined by Life Ed NSW Board Director and Parkes Shire Mayor Cr Ken Keith and Deputy Prime Minister Michael McCormack.

Given his long-term support of Life Ed, Mayor Ken Keith was delighted to see this new innovation in action.

“To see Life Ed evolve in the shape of an outdoor classroom couldn’t come at a better time and will ensure that students in our region continue to receive these important messages about a healthy lifestyle even through these uncertain times and well in to the future. Life Ed should be congratulated on their agile approach to advancing their outreach in our area,” he said.

The pop-up outdoor Life Education classroom has enabled our students to enjoy the 'Healthy Harold' experience in a COVID-safe manner.

Parkes East Public School Principal, Mr Michael Ostler added that “We were disappointed when Harold couldn’t visit in the van earlier in the year (due to COVID-19) but jumped at the chance to be the first school in the state to utilise this outdoor option. I see this being an important way of getting across the healthy lifestyle message while maintaining the Healthy Harold magic.”

The new Life Ed outdoor pop-up classroom has been funded by the NSW Government, to ensure Healthy Harold continues to educate the next generation of young students.