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The University of Southampton

"COVID Warriors" programme to help primary school children protect themselves from COVID-19

Published: 15 July 2021
COVID Warrior
COVID Warrior puppets were inspired by designs from children at local schools

An education programme developed in Southampton to help primary school children protect themselves from the spread of COVID-19 is being made available to young people across the UK.

It is the first programme of its kind to support and deliver public health messaging around the pandemic to primary school aged children.

The COVID-19 Warriors programme is an education package that teaches primary school children about the virus, introducing characters who each have super powers that can limit its spread. Pupils are encouraged to use their investigative skills to adopt these superpower skills and become COVID Warriors in their own communities.

Developed by specialist primary educators at LifeLab and using puppet characters inspired by designs from children at Mount Pleasant Junior School and Maytree Infant School, the programme is a package of 12 engaging lessons designed for delivery in schools, while also being accessible for home use. The programme supports children in their understanding of why we are being asked to behave differently and what we can all do to keep our friends, families, and school communities safe.

The package uses a series of films to accompany lessons plans that are aligned to the curriculum, and tackles topics including public health guidance, vaccines, testing and the supporting mental health during the pandemic. The sessions are already being delivered in 11 schools across the region, in over 100 classes, giving us over 3,000 new members of the COVID-19 Warriors team.

The programme has now won the backing of the Royal Society for Public Health after the organisation published the films on their YouTube channel so they can be accessed by educators and young people across the UK.

Christina Marriott, Chief Executive of 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 19th, 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 and how they can make choices that can help to keep themselves, their friends and their families safe.”.

Dr Kath Woods-Townsend, LifeLab programme lead, said: “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.

“The COVID-19 Warrior package gives young people the information they need to make the right choices about keeping safe. We are delighted that the Royal Society for Public Health is now supporting the programme and look forward to more schools and educators across the country using the programme, as we move to further easing of restrictions, it is more important than ever that we all know and understand how to make choices to keep ourselves, our families and our school communities safe.”

The COVID-19 Warrior programme is available to download from the Lifelab website .

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