DOI: 10.3390/educsci14030302 ISSN: 2227-7102

“Bye-Bye Germs”: Respiratory Tract Infection Prevention—An Education Intervention for Children

Sarah Younie, Sapphire Crosby, Charlie Firth, Johanna McNicholl, Katie Laird
  • Public Administration
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Education
  • Computer Science Applications
  • Computer Science (miscellaneous)
  • Physical Therapy, Sports Therapy and Rehabilitation

Becoming one of the first studies in the field to do so, specially developed educational interventions (Germ’s Journey) designed to teach children about respiratory tract infection prevention were delivered to 273 pupils aged five to six across five primary schools in the U.K. The intervention aimed to increase understanding of pathogens and respiratory tract illness, transmission and infection prevention, and preparedness for future pandemics due to a lack of such resources for young children at present. To assess the impact of the intervention, children were asked five questions related to knowledge of pathogens, transmission of infection, and infection prevention directly before and after activity-based workshops, as well as one month later. Responses were scored for pupils’ level of knowledge; differences in the frequency of responses between the time points were analysed using Pearson’s chi-squared test. Teachers also took part in semi-structured interviews to evaluate the workshop from the educators’ points of view. Children showed increased knowledge in all three areas immediately after the workshops. This improvement was retained to a lesser or equal extent one month following the learning intervention workshop. The consistent use of teaching resources and interventions such as Germ’s Journey should be implemented in the school curriculum in order to increase understanding and reduce the transmission of respiratory tract illness. Specially designed activity-based workshops using a range of learning skills can help young children to understand the link between pathogens, infection transmission, and control.

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