A new teaching resource which aims to promote the links between health and environment for children at Key Stage 2 has been endorsed by the Ministerial Advisory Group for Architecture and the Built Environment (MAG). Healthy Places, Healthy Children has been designed by Belfast Healthy Cities, with the support of the Education Authority.
The resource, which complements the Northern Ireland Curriculum, will introduce children to the links between the built environment and health and well-being and provides an opportunity for children to research their local area; develop proposals on how to make their local environment more child friendly; and provides guidance on how to share their proposals with local decision makers.
The Ministerial Advisory Group for Architecture and the Built Environment (MAG) will work with Belfast Healthy Cities in promoting the use of the online resource in making the built environment more child friendly.
Established in 2007, MAG aims to promote the highest quality of places for all those involved in using and shaping them. Working across the 11 district council areas, MAG specifically looks at a number of themes including planning; landscape; heritage; and education and training.
At the launch of Healthy Places, Healthy Children, Andrew Haley, Chair of the Ministerial Advisory Group said: “This is a wonderful opportunity to encourage young people to articulate their thoughts about their environment and how it can be shaped to make it better. If we can keep developing those skills, these young people will grow up with the confidence to make a positive impact on the wide range of places in which they will find themselves.”
Joan Devlin, Chief Executive, Belfast Healthy Cities said: “The built and natural environment is particularly important for children’s health and wellbeing, as it provides the context for their everyday lives and shapes lifelong habits and behaviours. Younger children are more affected than older age groups, since they spend most of their time in their local neighbourhood.
“We are delighted to be working with the Ministerial Advisory Group in promoting the Healthy Places, Healthy Children school resource across Housing Associations and other organisations who have an impact on built environment to make the spaces children live, learn and play in more child friendly.”
The development of the Healthy Places, Healthy Children resource, which has already been successfully piloted in more than 20 schools across Northern Ireland, was supported by the Public Health Agency, Northern Ireland Housing Executive and the Education Authority (EA).