Harold the giraffe helps pupils learn about good health and drug prevention
PUBLISHED: 07:50 23 November 2016 | UPDATED: 09:40 23 November 2016
A mobile classroom visited Bushmead School in Eaton Socon last week to teach pupils about drug and health education issues.
The Life Education Centre, which is part-funded by the St Neots, St Mary’s Rotary Club, tours around schools in Cambridgeshire and gives nursery, primary and middle school pupils the first steps in drug prevention. The rotary club was instrumental in setting up the trailer, which also receives local authority and grant funding, in 1998, but members now have some concerns that the service could be under threat due to successive cutbacks.
“Our club passionately believes that this is such a worthwhile scheme that it should not be allowed to fade away through lack of funding,” said Mike Truswell of the rotary club.
“We have donated £7,000 this year alone to help with the shortfall. Over the last 18 years we have spent a further £15,000 or thereabouts. We would like to raise awareness of the situation to ensure this valuable community and educational facility can continue in the long-term. We all believe in this project and the feedback from parents and pupils is always 100 per cent positive. We would like to get other rotary clubs and organisations involved to ensure future generations can benefit.”
The programme supports nursery children as well as primary school pupils, introducing them to the importance of looking after their bodies and gives them information about personal hygiene and for the older children there is a drug education programme, which builds on what they learn at school under the national curriculum.
Children usually spend around 45 minutes in the trailer in a multi-sensory environment, which includes music, lights and a puppet called Harold the giraffe, and they are able to exercise and are encouraged to interact so teaching staff can dispel myths and provide feedback to the school about where any knowledge gaps may be.
Louise Augarde, who is one of the teaching staff for the facility, said: “Taking children out of a classroom environment, even for a short time, is hugely beneficial. It is a different space and they come with no preconceptions. It is very relaxing and they feel safe, which gives us the opportunity to build a relationship with them.”
There are now two mobile classrooms in Cambridgeshire and they are run through a partnership between the Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Life Education Trust, Cambridgeshire County Council and Peterborough City Council. They visit around 250 schools each year.
INFO: If you can help with funding, contact Mike Truswell at: firstname.lastname@example.org.