• Hans and the Gruffalo? LSHTM supporting children’s COVID-19 education
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    Hans and the Gruffalo? LSHTM supporting children’s COVID-19 education by lshth1 Wed, 04/08/2020 - 16:07 These are confusing, uncertain times for us all, and juggling working from home with childcare and home school is an issue for many families. This exciting new campaign aims to support and educate children and parents on the science behind COVID-19. Through an illustrated book, and new and existing cartoon characters, this campaign and its innovative educational materials aim to engage young people in public health at this vital time, as well as provide reassurance and support for their wellbeing. The friendly faces helping children learn the science behind COVID-19 The ‘Hans on COVID’ campaign is headed up by scientists from the ARCTEC team at LSHTM and developed in partnership with the global communications consultancy Ketchum. It is fronted by a new cartoon character called Hans, who will be giving parents and teachers a helping hand, and handy tips, to engage children in public health science in the weeks and months ahead. As part of this campaign, the team is also working with the online educational publisher Twinkl to produce an exciting range of free online resources tailored for different age groups, from two to 18 years-old. Stories, games and activities will be available to teachers, parents and carers to download at http://www.twinkl.co.uk, where thousands of teaching resources are downloaded daily by parents and teachers around the world.  The team will be working with many experts at LSHTM, as well as STEM and the British Science Association. To bring this vision to life for younger children, the team has worked with renowned children’s author and illustrator Lydia Monks, who illustrated the What the Ladybird Heard books, to create another caring character, called Dr Dog, who is aimed at educating and providing reassurance to young children. Together with child psychologists, the team are developing resources designed to not only educate, but support and reassure children, as well as parents and teachers during this difficult time. The ‘Hans on COVID’ campaign will run for six months initially, evolving as recommendations change and health advice is updated. In the longer term, the ARCTEC team will be translating and adapting these educational resources into different languages to run programmes in low income countries, combining the COVID-19 messaging with other public health messages around other diseases, such as malaria. Professor James Logan, who is spearheading this campaign, said: “It’s been a lot of fun coming up with the characters and working with some wonderfully creative and talented people. But there is an important side to this. “For many young people, in the UK and around the world, the COVID-19 pandemic is a time of uncertainty, confusion and anxiety, with lots of misinformation online. As a parent myself, I felt there was a bit of a gap when it came to support for giving accurate information to children in an engaging what that didn’t scare them” Free digital books on COVID-19 with The Gruffalo illustrator Working with illustrator Axel Scheffler, who illustrated The Gruffalo, Professor Graham Medley acted as consultant on an e-book for pre-school and primary school age children about the novel coronavirus, and the measures taken to control it. Along with publishers Nosy Crow, who also took advice from two head teachers and a child psychologist, they aimed to answer key questions in simple language appropriate for two to nine year-olds, from what the virus is and what happens if you catch it, to why some places are closed and what’s going to happen next. Nosy Crow wanted to make sure the book was accessible to every child and family, so it is completely free to read on screen or print out. Professor Medley said: “This pandemic is changing children’s lives across the globe and will have a lasting impact on us all. Helping children understand what is going on is an important step in helping them cope and making them a part of the story. This book puts children in the picture, rather than just watching it happen, and in a way that makes the scary parts easier to cope with.” A copy of Axel Scheffler’s book can be downloaded here. Image Related Links Dogs could join the fight against COVID-19 Estimates for the relative impact of different COVID-19 control measures in the UK Reproduction number of COVID-19 could be below one in UK lockdown Arthropod Control Product Test Centre (ARCTEC) Introduction The London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine (LSHTM) has teamed up with well-known illustrators and publishers to launch an extensive range of free digital COVID-19 educational resources for children.