Paralympics Australia has today re-launched its Paralympic Education Project (PEP).
It means school students and teachers across the country will now be able to experience the best of Paralympic sport in their classrooms.
The revamped PEP is a free online education initiative which aims to inspire and excite young people, by teaching them about the Paralympic Games and core Paralympic values.
Its primary objective is to promote inclusion of people with a disability and challenge perceptions of students via a range of engaging lesson plans and online resources, and a school visit programme featuring Paralympians in the lead-up to and during Tokyo 2020.
With just less than six months until the 2020 Paralympics in Tokyo are due to begin, Paralympics Australia chief executive Lynne Anderson said it was an ideal time for students of all ages to embrace Australia’s Paralympians.
"Paralympians have a reputation for resilience," she said.
"They personify courage and determination through their performances and importantly, they have an ever-growing role to promote equality and positive social change.
"We believe our Paralympic education programme is the perfect opportunity for students to learn about these valuable characteristics in a fun and meaningful way."
Research undertaken in Great Britain found 85 per cent of respondents agree that the Paralympics have had a positive effect on the lives of people with a disability, and 54 per cent agree that exposure to the Games challenged their attitudes towards disability.
“We’re very excited to be part of the Paralympic Education Program. In the lead up to the Games, we will be launching a new module of resources focussing on @AustralianBeef as part of a healthy meal and active lifestyle.” - @meatlivestock Lisa Sharp. #ReadySetTokyo pic.twitter.com/pY4ncyVYrU— AUS Paralympic Team (@AUSParalympics) February 26, 2020
"Our Para-athletes remind the world that diversity is a strength to be celebrated," Anderson added.
"We know that here at home, the community response following the last few Games has been incredible.
"We believe this programme can enable our Paralympians and Paralympic sport to capture the hearts and minds of more Australian school kids, and continue to break down stigmas around disability and really instigate change."
Paralympics Australia previously had an education programme prior to London 2012, which had an extensive reach with almost 3,000 primary schools joining the programme, and by 2010, had reached more than 370,000 students.
The goal of the re-launched programme is to reach a minimum of 300 schools and 10,000 students via online resources, and over 500 students through the school visit programme before Tokyo 2020 is scheduled to start on August 25.
Paralympics Australia has been supported with the programme, with resources from the International Paralympic Committee’s I’mPOSSIBLE programme, as well as Australian Beef, which will help connect more Australian schools to the programme.
Australian Beef will also be launching a new module of resources as part of a healthy meal and active lifestyle.
It will feature Paralympians instructing cooking classes focusing on beef’s role in living a healthy lifestyle.
The John and Myriam Wylie Foundation has also provided funding support for the PEP's school visit programme.
This funding will enable Paralympics Australia to hold eight additional school visits and extend the reach of the programme to many more students and teachers.
Schools can register for the PEP here.