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With just a handful of weeks left in the 2013 school year, Mel Crinion has her hands full with the Eels Educate program.

On top of teaching her regular weekly sessions with varying schools from the Parramatta District, Ms Crinion is developing and adding to the programs she teaches looking ahead to 2014.

It can be time-consuming in terms of getting the activities together but its worth it to have them on offer to more schools, Ms Crinion said.

I see this group of stage three kids [pictured above] every Friday for eight weeks, and we focus on different themes to encourage positive social interactions, Ms Crinion said.

The stage three children from St Monica's, North Parramatta tackles topics surrounding themes of identity, anti-bullying, respect, leadership and positive behaviours, which are all part of the school curriculum.

The teachers appreciate it I think because its syllabus linked, so everything I teach fits in with the school syllabus and they can see the students have achieved what they need to.

As for the students, Ms Crinion says they treat her classroom very differently to how they would at their school - and that helps her get the best results.

Students like the activities that I do because its a very informal classroom where the kids are learning without realising that theyre learning, she said.

Thats why we dont have chairs and tables - I get the best work out of them when theyre on the ground having fun!

The St Monicas group walks half an hour to the Eels Educate classroom in Parramatta Stadium; but their teachers wouldnt have it any other way.

I see the power that sport in particular rugby league has with kids and learning, and making these programs means I can see their progress and know Im making a small difference, Ms Crinion said.

And thats what I love. They get to know me, I get to know them and they know I mean business.
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Parramatta Eels respect and honour the Traditional Custodians of the land and pay our respects to their Elders past, present and future. We acknowledge the stories, traditions and living cultures of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples on the lands we meet, gather and play on.

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