Hello and Welcome
This Kids-Teach-Kids Curriculum has been produced by faculty at the Massachusetts Aggression Reduction Center at Bridgewater State University (MARC). MARC has historically focused on helping children cope with social behaviors, problems like bullying and cyberbullying, and coping successfully with digital behaviors that can cause social problems.
During the current Coronavirus Pandemic, we have been largely focused on helping schools, parents, and children cope with the social and psychological effects of the global pandemic and its accompanying recession.
An important part of these efforts were books published for kids and co-authored by our Children’s Literacy Specialist, Dr. Katharine Covino. These books, The Insanely Awesome Pandemic Playbook: A Humorous Mental Health Guide For Kids and The Insanely Awesome POST Pandemic Playbook: A Humorous Mental Health Guide For Kids, use humor and illustrations to teach children aged 7-11 about research-based approaches for understanding the pandemic and improving their mental health.
Before the pandemic, some of the most successful programming at MARC involved training youth to help their peers with challenging social and psychological situations. For this Curriculum, we have taken this model and adapted to the pandemic. We know that when it comes to issues like mental health and socializing, kids love to learn from peers, and thus kids can be a critical source of information.
The Kids-Teach-Kids Curriculum includes readings from the Insanely Awesome Pandemic books, with accompanying kid-narrated videos and Lesson plans, to help kids better understand the pandemic, the public health concepts that adults talk about (social distancing, masking, the vaccines), and how to help themselves stay as healthy psychologically as possible.
Why is the Curriculum titled “Kids-Teach-Kids”?
The books in the Curriculum were illustrated by a child, and the videos in the Curriculum are all narrated by children. Kids posed most of the questions in the Lesson Plans. The premise is that kids like to learn from other kids, and that they are more engaged when other kids teach them and more likely to retain knowledge.
Are the Insanely Awesome Pandemic books required for this program?
No, but the program is built around the concepts explained in these children’s books. The program frequently references the books and thus it may be difficult for children to complete the training without copies of the books.
The books are found on Amazon. They are very inexpensive ($8.99) and periodically they are free. The following books are used in this curriculum:
Is this Curriculum research-based?
The facts and concepts in the Insanely Awesome book series are all research-based. The books, and the Curriculum, use these concepts along with humor, to facilitate children’s understanding of all the new facts and issues this global pandemic has raised. This approach - using science and humor together - has been tested with 9-year-olds and was found to be successful in both engaging children and ensuring that they successfully learned the key lessons being taught.
We are pleased to be able to encourage children to help each other during this unprecedented global pandemic. We look forward to seeing their thoughts, ideas, and videos!
Dr. Elizabeth Englander
Executive Director of the Massachusetts Aggression Reduction Center at Bridgewater State University
Dr. Katharine Covino
Children’s Literacy Specialist, Massachusetts Aggression Reduction Center