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Morecambe and Lancaster arts groups receive award nomination for school vaccination project

The Alien Needs Our Help project was delivered at local schools including Ryelands Primary in Lancaster

A Morecambe music charity and a Lancaster dance group are up for a major award after helping schoolchildren make informed choices about vaccinations.

More Music and Ludus Dance received a joint nomination for the Hearts and Minds Award at the Northern Cultural Education Awards 2024 and are now finalists.

‘The Alien Needs Our Help’ was a public health arts project created by More Music and Ludus Dance, aimed at KS2 school children in Lancaster and Morecambe, taking place in schools from February 2022 to July 2023.

It was designed as a six-week programme (working with the same two classes each week) which used songs and dance activities to share important facts about vaccines, their history, how they work and how children can stay healthy and safe.

The aim was to provide children with relevant facts enabling them to make informed choices about vaccination when they are older.  Each session was delivered by a team of a dancer and a musician.

The sessions would begin with an alien (played by the dancer) asleep on the floor as the schoolchildren came in, where they would be greeted by the musician playing a musical instrument. 

The musician would encourage the children to wake up the alien, who would then explain they were from another planet and were worried about germs and viruses. 

Over the course of the project, the children learnt songs and movements which they used to help the alien discover how to stay safe and be able to share vaccination and health facts with her home planet. 

The final session was an opportunity for the children to share their knowledge  with other classes through a performance of the songs and movements they had learnt, which explained the history of vaccines and how they work to protect the body from infection.

A number of memorable songs were written especially for the project to help embed the learning in a fun and interactive way.  A song about hand washing was written to be sung by children for the recommended handwashing time of 20 seconds. Other songs told the story of Edward Jenner, the scientist who created the first vaccine in 1796, and explained how to stay safe from germs. 

Dances and movements taught to the children embedded the knowledge, which teachers commented helped some children to engage and retain information better than in classroom-based lessons.

More Music is a music and education charity based at the Hothouse on Devonshire Road in Morecambe, with more than 30 years of experience of delivering workshops, training, performances and festivals across the district, region and beyond. 

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