Most of our Educators are trained classroom teachers who in addition have successfully completed the Life Education intensive and specialised training in health and drug awareness. The children don’t view our Educators as teachers and their time with us is informal and fun. They work with a very special colleague, Harold the giraffe, who assists them in explaining to the younger children the importance of eating healthily and taking care of themselves. Our Educators are known to the children by their first name only.
Debbie is a part-time Educator, who has worked for Life Education since 2011. She started working life in BBC Radio and worked both in radio programmes and Human Resources and Training. After a career break to study and having a family she moved into education, and worked at her children’s primary school for 9 years. This deepened her commitment to PSHE teaching and led to a role delivering PSHE and History projects in schools. She is committed to keeping fit and is a competitive runner. She is keen to share this enthusiasm for exercise and a healthy lifestyle with the children she works with in schools.
Donna, who joined LEW in 2012, is our Educator Manager and also teaches in Hampshire. She has many years experience as a trainer and team manager in the private sector. Having obtained her degree in Education and Training, Donna spent 4 years supporting families where parents had drug and alcohol dependency. She has also worked closely co-coordinating support for women who had experienced Domestic abuse, and promoting healthy relationships for children.
Donna strongly believes in the core values of Life Education Wessex, and is committed to ensuring as many children as possible experience the awe and wonder of the Life Education programmes. She is enthused by helping children make healthy choices, and is constantly surprised by how much children can remember from their previous Life Education visits and in particular the impact of Harold (the giraffe).
Helen works as a full-time Educator in Somerset. Having gained a degree in psychology and a teaching qualification she taught in primary schools for 14 years before joining the charity in 2005. She finds the excitement and enthusiasm for learning and discussion engendered by the inclusive, interactive nature of the teaching programmes most rewarding and loves it when parents pop in to have a look because “it’s all he/she could talk about last night.” Helen embraces the use of new technology to inspire pupils from Nursery to Year 8 and particularly enjoys using drama to explore difficult issues with children.
Julia joined Life Education Wessex in 2017 and works in schools within Hampshire. Having completing her teacher training, she worked for five years as a class teacher and year leader in a primary school. After moving to the Isle of Wight, Julia worked as the education officer for the Isle of Wight Fire and Rescue Service, developing a fire safety education programme and delivering it to all primary schools on the island. She also worked on a firesetter programme and developed a road safety education programme for secondary schools. Safety through prevention are key themes that were interwoven in the schemes of work, enabling children to understand how to keep themselves safe and what to do in a variety of situations. Julia is committed to the aims of Life Education; that children can make choices and decisions if they have the opportunities to access knowledge and skills and she loves the enthusiasm of the children!
Karen works as a part-time Educator predominantly covering the schools in North Dorset. Having obtained her teaching qualification along with her degree in English and Law, she accrued 17 years experience in marketing before joining us in 2004. The intensive four months training in addition to her marketing experience, has equipped Karen with the skills and ability to convince children to make healthy choices. The buzz the children get from the mobile classroom and their total immersion in the learning never fails to amaze Karen and she feels privileged to work for such a worthwhile charity and gains immense satisfaction from her role as an Educator. Karen particularly likes working with Harold as he always seems to do what she asks him to. We wonder why?!
Katie works as a part-time Educator covering the Bournemouth and Poole schools. As a Reception and Key Stage 1 teacher, she applied for the post of Educator as she had heard of the worthwhile work and wanted to be involved in making a real difference to children’s lives, particularly their futures. She firmly believes in our positive approach to health and drug education, a key part of which is raising self-esteem, and thinks the most rewarding part is to see the excitement and enjoyment on the children’s faces and eagerness to share the knowledge learnt in the mobile classroom.
Maria has been an Educator since 2008, following the completion of a degree in Childhood Studies. Her previous career was extremely different, being a Finance and Operations Manager for Marks and Spencer. However, having a family and becoming heavily involved with her children’s school in numerous roles but particularly in Outdoor Education gave her a “light bulb moment” and the desire to work with young people with the aim of having a positive impact on both their physical and emotional development. So returned to university to study as a mature student. The way that Educators work, seeks to give children the confidence, self-belief and understanding that they are all unique, wonderful, talented individuals and this confidence will help them when making decisions that may sometimes be difficult. When you’re inside the mobile classroom setting up, but you can hear the children outside on the playground, so excited that “Harold and the Bus is back” and it’s the “best”, Maria feels fortunate to do such a rewarding job and meet so many amazing children. Away from the Life Bus, Maria still loves being outside, hill walking, cycling, kayaking and just about anything that involves fresh air!
Naomi joined us in 2016 as a part time Educator. She previously worked as a public health nutritionist in schools across Dorset teaching, as well as developing an obesity prevention programme for pre-schoolers and carers. Naomi also developed a weaning programme for health visitors. She has experience in areas of poverty and homelessness doing research and developing programmes to improve the quality of life for people that have found themselves in these situations. Naomi is passionate about public health and a strong believer that having such an impact early on in a child’s life will support them with vital skills needed in life. She loves the positive way of teaching that is embraced by Life Education; constantly building self-esteem alongside the awe and wonder about the human body. Seeing faces light up as they try to guess how many little ‘air-sacks’ are in their amazing lungs! Naomi loves life and fills in spare time with family, running a youth group, travelling and outdoor activities (sailing is top of the list!).
Tricia is passionate about helping children understand how amazing our bodies and the living environment are and how the choices we can make can have such an effect on our lives. Tricia has been teaching since the early 80’s, firstly teaching biology, chemistry and PSHE in a large 11-18 comprehensive school in Dorset. She then taught and managed an Outdoor Education and Field Studies Centre for 21 years, inspiring children and adults to love and care for the outdoors and the natural environment, and in particular how it can promote health and wellbeing. She continues this work on a freelance basis and is still the LA adviser for Outdoor Learning.
Tricia is excited about working for LEW as she loves the interactive style of learning and the excitement and enjoyment the children get from the sessions which helps them to learn and remember for a long time. Her own children, now 21 and 16 can still remember Harold!!
Harold lives in the mobile classroom and regularly visits the children. He is very shy but looks forward to seeing the children, especially his friends who’ve visited the classroom before. The younger children are encouraged to help him to stay healthy, to learn what to do if someone isn’t feeling too well, and to give him advice when he has problems with his friends. They generally have a great time together and in addition to helping them remember what they learnt before, Harold tells the children jokes and sings them songs. Even when the children are older they still think Harold is “cool” and have respect for his wisdom and knowledge.