Young children educated about dementia in primary schools

Mary Youlden's picture
Authored by Mary Youlden
Posted Sunday, November 3, 2019 - 10:33pm

Dementia wellness innovators Active Minds have teamed up with primary schools across the UK to broaden the level of education surrounding dementia.

Creators of dementia friendly activities, Active Minds, know all too well the importance of raising awareness and removing the stigma surrounding dementia. Teaming up with a range of schools across the country, Active Minds are undertaking an educating children campaign that saw youngsters explore dementia for the first time.  

With around 50 million people living with dementia around the world, there’s certainly a high chance that some, if not the majority, of young children will know someone who is affected. For many, Grandparents and Great Grandparents may well be living with dementia and understanding the implications surrounding this can be difficult. The campaign, curated with the aim of raising awareness and knowledge at primary school level, utilised a selection of resources to support education surrounding dementia. Topics of discussion included what it is, how it can change loved ones, and what it means for their family. 

Katy Ferguson, Senior Leader and SMSC lead at Selby Abbey C of E School said “The Active Minds resources were so useful and key to supporting the pupil's learning about dementia. Some of our pupils have personal experiences so it's important that awareness is raised from a young age. After using the resources and hearing first-hand experience from a pupil, the classes responses were thoughtful and mature.”

Active Minds’ guide to educating about dementia, along with three fantastic awareness raising posters were sent out to hundreds of schools up and down the country and were met with a barrage of praise.

Karen Roberts, Headteacher at Braithwaite C of School said, “I think the handouts that have been created are simple and honest, they make explaining to children the effects of dementia much simpler, an issue which is incredibly difficult for adults to understand”.

Used within classrooms, as part of assemblies and provided as resources to teachers, the campaign was met with an incredible response, and the resources will continue to be used across schools throughout the remainder of the school year and moving forward. 

Ben Atkinson- Willes of Active Minds emphasises the importance of awareness raising throughout the year “The growth rate of dementia diagnosis around the world is inevitably matching that of old age and is set to affect over a million people in the UK alone by 2020. The changes that come with dementia vary and can be difficult for families to understand, or know what to expect, but by educating children early on, we hope to keep their relationships as tight as ever. We aim to provide joy people with dementia and their families, recognising the power that engagement can bring.” 

He goes on to discuss the team’s pride surrounding the success of this campaign in promoting a positive message to children “It’s brilliant that schools are taking on board this important cause – they are so important to educating kids and raising awareness from the start. The more people understand the better.”

If your school would like to get involved with the Active Minds education campaign and receive the free resources, please do get in touch with info@active-minds.org