Graphic: Education program
Cooper Energy is funding the Royal Flying Doctor Service (RFDS) Victoria to take its Education Program–complete with the life-sized RFDS Flight Simulator –on a two-week tour of Victoria’s south-west.
From Monday 1 to Tuesday 23 August, the Flying Doctor Education Program will bring its engaging incursion to 10 primary schools within a 30km radius of Cooper Energy’s Port Campbell operations. Over this period, more than 35 sessions will be held for more than 900 primary school students, enabling them to easily access fun and engaging learning opportunities.
Cooper Energy is supporting the delivery of these school incursions with a generous donation. The funding also supports a trial extension of the program to include specialised oral health sessions for the students.
Cooper Energy’s Head of External Affairs, Bindi Gove, highlighted the importance of health and education to regional areas. “Our business operates regionally so we understand the value in improving access to health services and boosting education activities for kids, it goes a small way to helping level the field with metropolitan areas.”
Launched in 2011, the Flying Doctor Education Program is both an online teaching resource and an incursion program, which brings geography and history to life through stories of the Royal Flying Doctor Service. The incursion component includes an animated presentation about Australia’s geography and history, as well as the chance for students to explore and role play in a life-sized Flight Simulator, which is fitted out with medical equipment found in a real FlyingDoctor plane.
The online resource has been written by a team of practicing and registered teachers and links in with the school curriculum. In addition to geography and history, it offers an oral health component developed by RFDS Victoria dental practitioners in collaboration with leading educators.Flying Doctor Education Program Manager, Tom Ryan, notes that it can be difficult for schools in rural and remote areas to provide their students with access to quality incursions that aren’t too expensive.
“I’m really grateful for the opportunity Cooper Energy has provided us to bring this program to the Otways region,” says Mr Ryan. “Excursions can be hard things for rural schools to organise, as they’re costly and require students to travel long distances; incursions like ours make it so much easier for schools to provide their students with a unique experience.”
With the onset of COVID-19, young children have spent vast amounts of time doing online learning, and so this tour is an opportunity to provide a unique, hands-on learning experience to primary school students who might otherwise miss out on such an opportunity.
“The program engages kids, teachers and, on a broader level, the community at large, on the way RFDS serves Australia's unique needs both now and then,” says Mr Ryan. “It’s really important that kids all over Victoria –not just in the big cities –get the same chance to experience an interactive, educational and fun program like ours, and not feel disadvantaged just because of where they live.”