Dementia Friends Champion Emma has been delivering Information Sessions in schools. Here she tells us what the response has been like from the children and gives us some top tips…
“I wanted to run Dementia Friends Sessions in schools from the word go. I love the way children soak up everything like sponges, unlike adults, they have no pre-conceived ideas about dementia. Maybe they just see it as Grandma being funny but they never see it as a bad thing. I have worked with year 4 children upwards – every age group has got something out of it. Even when you think they’re not listening it seems to go in!
I try to make it as light hearted and funny as possible for the young primary school children. Making it as visual as possible helps the children remember the points I’m trying to get across. The activity with the ball of wool is a real winner. I print off some pictures of clothes and give them out all jumbled (it’s quite amazing how many children want the pants picture). When I come along as ‘dementia’ with my scissors to snip the wool, I get shouted at and booed like a pantomime baddy!
The responses from parents whose children have taken part say that the children have loved the Session and have told everyone who’s been within hearing distance about dementia. Job jobbed and I am a happy Champion!
My main bit of advice is that it’s all about making it fun and interesting for the young children and then treat the older ones like grown-ups. They all ‘get it’ more than we give them credit for. Also, just be prepared for some unusual questions!”
If you’re a Dementia Friends Champion and are interested in running Information Sessions for young people, we’ve loads of resources on the Dementia Friends website. Just login and go to ‘Session Resources’.