Programme that teaches young children about Covid safety backed by health experts

Katy Morton
Friday, July 16, 2021

A programme that teaches young children how to protect themselves and others from Coronavirus has gained the support of the Royal Society for Public Health.

The 'COVID Warriors' programme uses puppets to teach primary school children about how to stay safe from Coronavirus
The 'COVID Warriors' programme uses puppets to teach primary school children about how to stay safe from Coronavirus

The University of Southampton's 'COVID Warriors' programme is believed to be the first of its kind to support and deliver public health messaging around the pandemic to primary school pupils.

It has now gained the support of the Royal Society for Public Health (RSPH).

The aim of COVID Warriors is to support primary school aged pupils in their understanding of why the nation is being asked to behave differently and what we can do to keep our friends, families and school communities safe.

It is currently being delivered in 11 schools across Southampton, however it is now available for all schools and children in the UK to download.

About the programme

Under the programme, pupils are taught about the virus through the introduction of characters who each have super powers that limit its spread. They are encouraged to use their investigative skills to adopt these superpowers and become 'COVID Warriors' in their own communities.

It has been developed by the University of Southampton’s LifeLab – a teaching laboratory dedicated to improving health by giving school students opportunities to learn first-hand the science behind health messages. The COVID Warrior puppets used are inspired by designs from children at Mount Pleasant Junior School and Maytree Infant School in Southampton.

The programme consists of 12 lessons which are aligned to the curriculum and cover topics including public health guidance, vaccines, testing and supporting mental health during the pandemic.

Christina Marriott, chief executive of the RSPH, said, ‘We’re delighted to be supporting the COVID-19 Warriors Programme, as part of our ongoing partnership with LifeLab and the University of Southampton.

'The planned easing of restrictions on July 19, against a backdrop of rising cases of Covid-19, makes this a critical moment for education programmes that help to protect us all. We believe that the COVID-19 Warrior programme is an excellent vehicle for building young peoples’ understanding of the challenges that this pandemic continues to pose.’

Dr Kath Woods-Townsend, LifeLab programme lead, added, ‘This programme allows primary school children to use scientific discovery to understand why they are being asked to behave differently to prevent the spread of the virus.

‘We look forward to more schools and educators across the country using the programme.’

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