Harold the popular Life Education Trust mascot escaped the fire that destroyed the Life Education Trust trailer at Brookfield Primary School on Tuesday.
The Trust’s educator Michael Chemis took Harold home after schoool on Monday because it was going to be a cold night, says Trust chair Debbie Given.
The deliberately lit fire destroyed Michael’s classroom of nine years, including his and the trust’s resources which make Life Education Trust visits such a popular part of the primary and intermediate curriculum.
“He’s safe. He’s such a big part of Life Education Trust,” says trustee Astrid Martin.
“We just want to assure people that we are going to be at Omokoroa Number One School next week with Michael and Harold.”
It will be in a borrowed trailer. Michael will spend the rest of the week trying to replace the resources he’s built up over 19 years with the trust, nine of which were spent in the trailer that was destroyed in Tuesday’s arson attack.
The people who miss out because of the arson are the Brookfield Primary pupils who were expecting the Life Education Trust experience this week.
“It’s like going on an adventure when you go in this classroom,” says Astrid. “There’s stars in the sky, sounds and smells when we talk about food.”
The multi-media experience teaches children they are unique with the aim of making them comfortable with their identity.
The classes include education about the human body and its sensory, circulatory and digestive systems. It shows how the body functions and what its needs are – food, oxygen and water.
Classes link the needs with how the earth provides them and teaches how internal and external environments should be protected.
The Life Education philosophy focuses on creating a sensitivity to values which lead to an understanding and appreciation of human life, enabling children to make decisions about negative influences.
“So Harold comes out and references what’s been taught in each programme, He’s one of our biggest assets,” says Astrid.
“They remember it, and years afterwards the children still greet them as, ‘You are Harold’s Michael...’.”
Insurers were inspecting the trailer this morning and a replacement will be required. The trailers cost about $250,000 and take five to six months to build.
Donations towards the trailer’s replacement can be made through the charitable trust’s website: http://www.lifeeducation.org.nz/
Life Education Trust Western Bay of Plenty (WBOP) was originally formed in 1994.
In 2011, the local trust reached nearly 13,000 students and visited 49 schools in this area between Pukehina and Katikati. It now operates two trailers, one from Mount Maunganui east, the other from the city and west.