A recent pilot project at Ryelands Primary School saw Year 3 pupils meet an alien, who they helped understand how the world has changed and taught them how to keep safe from diseases and viruses - so that they can return to their family on their home planet without worrying about making them poorly.
Pupils’ creativity came alive as through dance they became germs, understood the body’s immune system and learned about vaccines and medicines, and through music, the children created songs about handwashing and staying healthy, as well as producing creative responses to their experiences of the pandemic and lockdown.
The Alien Needs Our Help project is a creative health and wellbeing programme, from Ludus Dance and More Music, commissioned by Lancaster City Council’s Public Protection, designed to support teachers to deliver aspects of the science and PSHE curriculum.
It is now being rolled out at schools across the district thanks to the Government’s Community Champions Scheme, which saw Lancaster City Council awarded £485,000 funding.
Coun Sandra Thornberry, cabinet member for arts, culture, leisure and wellbeing, said: “It is so important to teach children the importance of keeping their bodies healthy and protected from germs – and particularly in recent years, with Covid-19 and the rise of diseases such as measles.
“We wanted to create an engaging programme to enhance the school curriculum, reinforcing the message to keep safe from germs and discover the history of vaccines. It also gives children the space to express their experience of lockdown through dance and music.”
Darren Leadsom, education and inclusion manager at More Music in Morecambe, said: “Lancaster City Council has given us a fantastic opportunity to create a wonderful project with Ludus Dance that we’re really proud of, which will also help to communicate important public health messages to children in an accessible way.
“With our musician and dancer team, school children will learn how they can keep themselves healthy through fun and interactive workshops while helping our alien find out the facts they need to keep their planet safe too.”
Rachel Deadman, interim artistic director at Ludus Dance, said: “We are delighted to be bringing 'The Alien Needs Our Help' to primary school children across Lancaster and Morecambe.
“This project combines the longstanding expertise of local arts organisations working in partnership with education.”