The Facts4Life resources are proving to be very popular amongst schools in Gloucestershire. As well as central training courses which are attended by one or two members of staff from a school, we are also getting many requests to do whole staff training, often with TAs as well as teachers, as part of an Inset Day or a twilight session.
But one of the questions we often get asked is ‘How do we fit it in?’ We are very much aware that schools are under great pressure to deliver a very full curriculum and so completely understand where teachers are coming from with this question.
The good news is that Facts4Life is designed to be slotted in amongst the existing curriculum and the teachers’ book gives an indication of where this could happen. The most obvious curriculum areas are Science and PSHE but there are also opportunities to explore some of the Facts4Life themes and materials in PE, Geography, History, Music, Art and so on.
The materials have not been written as lesson plans as such but as a series of activities, grouped under the main themes of Riding the Ups and Downs, Keeping Balanced and Smoothing the Path. This allows teachers to decide where best to slot in the activities.
In addition to the core materials there are also supplementary materials on Mental Health and Relationships. More recently we have started devising materials which can be used as part of a national awareness day such as Bug Busting Day and Random Acts of Kindness Day and are quite often written with assemblies in mind.
Schools are also finding the Facts4Life 30 Day Challenge a useful tool for promoting a range of positive health related behaviours and many have used this as part of their work towards Healthy Schools status. They report that the Challenge is a simple but powerful and flexible tool which they can adapt and use to slot in with their existing school initiatives such as The Daily Mile.
And perhaps just as importantly, if not more so, Facts4Life is about giving pupils a language to describe their experience of life which enables them to develop a positive mindset, allowing them to accept and take responsibility for their own health ‘journey’. They need to understand that life is a series of ups and downs and that nobody lives in a state of perfect health, either mentally or physically; that the body’s own homeostatic processes makes it remarkable resilient in coping with these ups and downs in order to keep balanced; and that they have it in their control to do things which will help to smooth the path of their health journey. One deputy headteacher told me that she went into one class in her school where children were listening to Ronan Keating’s ‘Life is a Rollercoaster’ and they explained to her that you can’t be up all the time but that you had to experience highs and lows, that it was all part of life. Those children were grasping what Facts4Life is all about.
Finally, if you’re struggling to get Facts4Life kick-started in your school, then please do contact us as we can work with you to make sure you get the most out of the materials. Let us help you redefine health education!