Healthy Harold the giraffe visits Mid North Coast schools with Life Education educator Leanne Goggin

EMPOWERED KIDS: Kendall Public School students Lockie N and Lexi H.
EMPOWERED KIDS: Kendall Public School students Lockie N and Lexi H.

Healthy Harold the giraffe is visiting schools across the Mid North Coast to discuss positive and healthy choices with kids with the program evolving over time to focus on cyber safety and respectful relationships.

Harold has been visiting schools for 40 years to discuss students' health with the support of non-profit organisation, Life Education NSW.

Educator for Lower Mid North Coast area Leanne Goggin, who has been educating for 23 years, said Life Education has been around since 1979 when it started in Sydney.

"In its beginnings it was all about showing students how amazing their body is and how it works," Mrs Goggin said.

"Exploring its functions in the hope that the kids make smart and safe choices. That really hasn't changed in that 40 years but we adapted the program over the years.

"From pre-school to the younger years we teach good nutrition, importance of exercise, importance of fresh air and what is needed for good health. From there we talk about confidence and how they can stand up for themselves. We want to empower kids to make the right choice.

"We have always talked to the older kids about legal and illegal drugs, that hasn't changed.There is a new topic schools are choosing which is about respectful relations and being safe online.

HUMAN BODY EDUCATION: Kendall Public School students Lockie N and Lexi H with Leanne Goggin.

HUMAN BODY EDUCATION: Kendall Public School students Lockie N and Lexi H with Leanne Goggin.

"Alcohol and nicotine education hasn't changed because they are the most used risks. The focus has changed in line with statistics because most young people are making good choices, compared to when I started 20 years ago when there were statistically more people choosing those substances.

"Now we are flipping the conversation to say, why are most people choosing not to drink alcohol or use cigarettes. Because the numbers of young people using alcohol or smoking is declining, they're reversing those trends."

Kendall Public School kindergarten student Lockie said he enjoyed the videos of Healthy Harold.

"We watched videos about Harold. We've been learning about what Harold needs for his lunch to stay healthy," he said.

Kendall Public School year six student Lexi said she'd seen eight visits from Healthy Harold during her schooling.

"We having been learning about being kind and respectful next year in high school," she said.

"We learnt about the human body (on a previous visit). We went into a spaceship to explore the human body like the heart and stuff.

JUMPING FOR JOY: Leanne Goggin and Healthy Harold. Photo: Supplied.

JUMPING FOR JOY: Leanne Goggin and Healthy Harold. Photo: Supplied.

"Basically the visits are about your health, eating healthy, staying active and keeping clean. We had drug education one time as well.

"I don't think I'd smoke or use drugs when I'm older because it can mess with your brain and your body. You wouldn't be as healthy as you could be."

Life Education and Healthy Harold the giraffe are visiting schools at Johns River, Hannam Vale, Comboyne, Huntingdon, Herons Creek, Kendall, Laurieton, North Haven, Lake Cathie, Port Macquarie, Westport, Wauchope and Telegraph Point this school term.

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