Welcome to Life Education North Shore

Life Education is a not-for-profit organisation and each local trust is run by dedicated volunteers who are committed to building a better world for our children. Life Education is not government funded and not part of the government education system.

Life Education is an interactive educational program, linked to the national school health curriculum. We teach children about the wonder of life, themselves, and other people, with the aim of giving the children of New Zealand the knowledge and skills to raise their awareness to live a fulfilling and healthy life. It is a totally positive approach, with an emphasis on empowering the children to make choices based on sound information, rather than peer pressure.

The aim of the Life Education programme is to provide children with the relevant knowledge to make healthy decisions. These decision may relate to food and nutrition, friendships, bullying and peer pressure or understanding the magnificence of our body. The programme utilises an inquiry approach, spring boarding from 'Big Questions', to ensure personalisation of learning experiences is achieved.

The Life Education program is highly valued. According to a recent study, 91% of teachers considered it to be effective or very effective.

 Our aim is to teach each child:

  • You are unique. There never was, is now, or ever will be, another you. It is OK to have freckles, be tall or short, have big ears or a small nose, different colours hair or skin. You are special!
  • The human body is magnificent. Children learn about the nervous, circulatory and digestive systems, about how the different parts of the body work and how to take good care of your body.
    Our basic needs are food, water and oxygen. We illustrate how the earth provides these needs and teach how we should protect our internal and external environments.
  • To support and respect each other: If I am special and unique so is the person sitting next to me.

The past 27 years, and the coming quarter century

For over 27 years we have been providing health education to kiwi kids and we are making changes to ensure we remain relevant for the next 25 years. In 2013 Life Education Trust commissioned an independent review of the program. This review was to ensure our program development had responded to curriculum & changes and that the program and resources meet schools needs and were aligned to today's and tomorrow's school classroom learning environment.

In 2014, a large task of redesigning the extensive program was undertaken, resulting in the following changes:

  • Instead of 19 pre-planned modules, we are currently teaching from more than 60 'big Questions' which can be combined to suite the needs of an individual class, a syndicate or a whole school;
  • Instead of pre-set lessons plans, the educator develops individualised lesson plans in collaboration with the school's teachers;
  • Instead of a modular approach, there is increasing personalisation in combining concepts;
  • Instead of teacher/educator led learning, the learning is student centred.
Lesson Lab is Life Education's online interactive planning tool: it enables the educators to use a joint planning approach to develop individual lessons with schools. Lesson Lab houses researched and validated content and resources to support children's learning needs. Lessons vary by children's ages and concepts taught, but are generally 30-90 minutes long. Each child takes part in two or three lessons, with their learning further supported in the child's classroom.

If you like more in depth information about these changes and the new program structure, please click here for a link to the program page of the National Life Education website.


Life Education's programs

Children and adolescents are faced with the challenge of developing their own identity - a need to fit in, a need to belong, a need to like the person in the mirror and to be comfortable with who they are. Bullying, falling out with friends, peer pressure and the worry of being different are just some of the emotions children live with daily. It helps to have factual, correct information about how your body works and develops during these years of 'growing up'.

When asked, Year 8 students wrote about the impressions the Life Education programme had left them with:
"When I first walked into the Life Education caravan, I knew it was a special, important place. From Harold the talking giraffe, to the stars that lit up the rood, and the friendly smile of the educator as I walked in the door, Life Education has had a big impact on my life, and I believe it will continue to impact me and the decision I make throughout my life.[...] Throughout my time in Life Education I learnt about peer pressure, the importance of self-worth, the magnificence of the human body and more. The knowledge and lessons that I have gathered from my Life Education experience has helped to shape the person that I am today, and my understanding of the world we live in. I enjoyed the programme as it was a comfortable, safe and supportive environment, where everyone was equal and there were no right or wrong questions. The educators were always welcoming and frequently asked for students' opinions and ideas."

Another Year 8 student remarked:
"I find the purpose of Life Education is to teach kids and teenagers how to make good decision and to teach us life lessons. Life Education has helped me a lot through the years. I have been through difficult situations and Life Education has taught me how to live a good life and make good choice.[...]. I will take away a lot of the things that I have learnt from Life Education. I will say "NO" when I have to. I will keep healthy and I will make good decisions.
My highlight when I was younger was to see Harold, because he was my superhero. My highlight now is to learn more and more as I grow and also I love the new technology."

One last Year 8 student remarked, among other things:
"I think the main purpose of why we attend Life Education is to educate us on the brain, the body, bullying and drugs, so that we know what choices to make and to make the right choice for yourself. Also learning that we are all different and there is only one of us in the world and to not try to be like someone else, because you're not being yourself. Another purpose is to get us to learn in a fun environment so we enjoy learning the serious stuff that we need to know.[...] Another important message I will take away is that drugs are never the answer and if you think you're in trouble or you don't feel great, don't turn down that road, just talk to a family member who actually cares about you and would be devastated if something ever happened to you."

Specially trained educators in a very special learning environment - the mobile classroom

Our educators are all registered, experienced teachers, chosen and trained to make the experience as much fun as it is educational. On top of that, they have a passion for health education, and of course a love for children. Ongoing professional development ensures all our educators stay on top of their game, incorporating the latest scientific insights while teaching.

Our educators take children on an adventure inside a mobile classroom: a standard truck has been 'converted' into a high-tech mobile classroom, fully carpeted and equipped with a heating / air conditioning system. If that isn't enough, the classroom provides sophisticated technologies to capture children's imagination. They learn about their body watching 3D film technology, the smell of food will enter the classroom as the educator talks about nutrition, and the ceiling will light up into a simulation for stars at night as the children imagine they are on a space journey or camping out under the night sky.

Since 2015, both our classrooms are upgraded, using Microsoft Kinect interactive technology, to allow children to manipulate the images on a huge screen and fully engage with the learning experience.

Who is Harold?

Harold the Giraffe is the mascot of Life Education. He works in the mobile classroom with the educator, to demonstrate what happens when things go according to plan and what happens when they don't.

Harold is a friendly character and children's responses show that Harold has a huge impact in re-enforcing the messages we teach:

  • Giraffes are tall. We teach children to stand tall and be proud of who they are.
  • The pattern on a giraffe's skin is unique, like a fingerprint. We teach children that they too are unique and special.
  • Giraffes have big hearts. We teach children to be kind to others.
  • Giraffes have long necks. We teach children to be prepared to stick their necks out and support their friends


Role of the North Shore Life Education Trust

The North Shore Life Education Trust is one of the 33 community trusts around New Zealand, running 44 mobile classrooms between them. The trust is run by a group of dedicated, unpaid volunteers: our educators are paid professionals, but all other activities to deliver this unique program are undertaken by volunteers. The Trust is supported;financially by local businesses and community organisations. A special mention should go to the local trucking companies for making sure our mobile classrooms are transported from school to school on the North Shore.

If you would like to read more about the North Shore Life Education Trust, please choose any of the options on the left-hand side menu. If you would like to contact us, please click here.


Click here to download the North Shore Life Education Trust's  Annual Report 2016
Click here to download the North Shore Life Education Trust's School Statistics Report 2008-2016
Teens in here!