A Tasmanian designed health literacy initiative has helped to equip primary school students to develop self-care strategies during COVID-19.
In 2018 Bowen Road Primary School adopted the internationally recognised HealthLit4Kids initiative, which aims to build health literacy in schools by tailoring learning activities to individual schools and individual children’s health literacy needs.
Every year the school has adopted HealthLit4Kids into their curriculum with this year’s whole-of-school health focus particularly acute.
“The impact of COVID-19 on our mental health has been a huge focus in the community,” HealthLit4Kids co-founder and University of Tasmania Public Health Lecturer Dr Rosie Nash said.
“The students from Bowen Road Primary School decided this year to focus their HealthLit4Kids program on COVID-19, and the need for them to develop strategies to manage their own mental health.”
As a school-wide priority, students used the cognitive behavioural approach to self-regulation - Zones of Regulation, which is already embedded in the school’s curriculum - and personalised their approach to identify their own self-care strategies.
“There were so many great ideas students identified to help manage how they are feeling including affirmations, touch stones and finger breathing,” Dr Nash said.
Since HealthLit4Kids was founded in 2016, schools participating in the program have co-designed an action plan, which provides a framework for the school to respond to its own health literacy needs.
The program has been adopted by a number of primary schools across Tasmania and has been recognised by the World Health Organisation, being included in the WHO European planning for implementing life-long literacy initiatives.
Dr Nash is part of the Tasmanian School of Medicine at the College of Health and Medicine.