Harnessing children's potential with Life Without Barriers' education team

12 July 2021

"Our task is to educate our students whole being so they can face the future. We may not see the future, but they will, and our job is to help them make something of it." – Sir Ken Robinson.

Image: A teen girl with long blonde hair sitting under a tree. She is wearing white headphones and is using a laptop. She is smiling and wearing a purple tshirt

Lorna loves this quote by Sir Ken Robinson because it describes her work at Life Without Barriers perfectly. It also challenges the traditional definition of how many people view education.

The former high school teacher says the most positive education experiences can often occur outside the classroom - through meaningful experiences.

"It gives our kids a positive outlook on what education can be. Education is much bigger than school."    

A big focus of her role as an education consultant is supporting learning and education outcomes for children and young people. Her work with schools involves designing strategies to help kids deal with trauma, empower them to build resilience, and encourage them to stay in school through tough times. 

It also aligns with the Life Without Barriers Strategy 2025 goal of revitalising education and enhancing learning outcomes for children and young people in out-of-home care.

"When you get a kid back to school or get them to uni, it's really rewarding. School is one mould for a child to fit into mainstream education, and a lot of our kids don't fit into that mould. When I get breakthroughs with those kids, it's incredibly important," Lorna said.

Getting kids engaged is a challenge the passionate educator thrives on but says it requires thinking outside the box.

"You'd be surprised how many people write off the potential of young children who have been disengaged and not doing well in the education system only to realise that an excursion like whale watching or a dance show can inspire greater things. It's the meaningful stuff that gets to them."

Like the time Lorna took a young student on a memorable excursion. The year seven student was struggling at school because of bad grades. But when Lorna arranged a campus tour of Sydney University for her, she was so touched by the gesture and Lorna’s belief in her that she could one day belong on those grounds, her whole outlook changed.

"Just being on the campus made her feel like it was a possibility that she could one day attend the University - a lot of people cut kids off way too early."

That experience has led to Lorna forging what she describes as 'impactful' partnership programs with universities involving kids in creative endeavours, such as curated lab sessions for designing 3D objects. 

"It allows them to imagine a bigger world outside their current world of education, and they work towards that, knowing they can be part of something bigger."

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