What F4L Offers
For Parents and Carers
- The Facts4Life Approach
- Riding the Up and Downs (of Health)
- Smoothing the Path
- Physical and Mental Health
- What do parents and teachers tell us?
The Facts4Life Approach
Facts4Life teaching in schools responds to children’s interest in how their bodies work and what happens when they are unwell. The national curriculum in primary schools covers aspects of the various systems in the body, for example the digestive system in year 4 and the circulatory system in year 6 and develops this further in the secondary curriculum. This learning becomes exciting to children when we can make connections with their experience of their own health.
Riding the Up and Downs (of Health)
We offer resources and training to schools teaching children across the whole primary age range and across Key Stage 3 in secondary schools. We are also planning to develop materials for use with Key Stage 4. We find that all children are keen to find out about their own health experience which may include head lice, the common cold or other bacteria! This opens up a subject not traditionally discussed in schools and enables all to see that illness is quite normal. We operate along a continuum between good health and illness and often somewhere in between, but most of the time, most of us get better from illness without need for medical intervention. Children can understand the rebalancing process in the body (homeostasis) and how symptoms of illness are sometimes evidence of this e.g. fever killing a virus.
Smoothing the Path
From an understanding of the symptoms of an illness and how it’s treated, children come naturally to thinking about actions they can take to maximize their health. This might include healthy eating, physical exercise, rest and sleep. This takes away fear for young people and develops confidence in their ability to manage their health. The Facts4Life 30 Day Challenge encourages children to identify an area they wish to focus on regarding their health and to keep a record of their actions e.g. taking exercise rather than spending hours on the x-box! This more exploratory learning is a very different route to telling children what they should or shouldn’t be doing.
Physical and Mental Health
Facts4Life teaching does not separate physical health from mental health. We know that the two are closely interlinked. For example, when we are not enjoying good sleep or have a poor diet, this can affect our mental health. Likewise, we know that stress can cause symptoms of various physical illnesses. Facts4Life teaches children to understand their own needs and how to respond. This includes their emotional needs and any anxieties they may be harbouring. In the same way that it is normal to experience the ups and downs of physical illness, it is normal to feel worried, upset, angry and to learn how to manage this. We aim to create a climate in which children can confidently explore aspects of mental health in the same way that they might learn about diabetes, for example.
What do parents and teachers tell us?
We know that all families experience a range of illnesses over time. Parents have told us that the opportunity for their child to learn about something that is affecting the family can really support them. E.g the experience of dementia in a grand-parent
Teachers have said that the Facts4life curriculum enables then to get to know children better and to build effective partnerships with parents.
Parents are welcome to attend a Facts4Life training session for teachers if space allows.