Monday 30 May 2011

All about Casualty - for kids. Miriam Halahmy

What happens when you put a playwright and a consultant paediatrician together and send them to Casualty? They come up with an idea for a booklet of course!
"Are you in the emergency department waiting room and wondering what might be about to happen?"This booklet was written by the children of Grafton Primary School who have become experts on going into Casualty and its nothing like on the telly!

Award winning playwright ( Kindertransport), Diane Samuels, on the left, who is writer in residence at Grafton school, North London, was approached by Heidi Edmundson, consultant at the Whittington Hospital, for this amazing creative project - to put together a fun and engaging booklet, with the pupils, which would help children faced with a trip to A and E.

The staff were tickled pink!

The kids thought it was a lot of fun too! They interviewed all the staff, asking them things like, "What do doctors do if they are sick?" and of course, the important one, "How much do you earn?"
But as you can imagine, with a playwright leading the project, they did loads of thrilling role play. They acted out having  dramatic accidents such as falling out of trees and slipping on ice. Then they went to A&E at the Whittington, went through triage, had a consultation with Heidi, did everything in fact as though they had had a real accident - except experiencing an amputation. Everyone managed to survive  - even with a smile.

The kids came up with lots of interesting things to put in the booklet such as questionnaires, poems and instructions on how to calm a patient down if you are a doctor, such as :
Lesson number 3 - Don't pretend that you have no idea what you're doing.
Lesson number 6 - Don't threaten the patient as it only makes matters worse.
They drew pictures, advised on layout and font and came up with 'Things to do while you're waiting.'
The booklet was launched, with readings by the children, at a lovely afternoon event at the hospital.

 Now the booklet will be available to all the children who come into Casualty at the hospital. An excellent outcome for a writer in residence. Have any of our SAS writers been involved in this kind of project for children?


catdownunder said...

Wonderful! But part of a university course I once went with some other students to visit the school at Great Ormond Street Hospital. We were greeted at the first ward by the sight of a young doctor crawling out from under a bed. He smiled cheerfully at us and said, "First catch your patient!"

Joan Lennon said...

What a fabulous project - every hospital should have copies of that booklet!

Savita Kalhan said...

Great post, Miriam, and I agree with Joan - every A & E should have a copies of the booklet!

Miriam Halahmy said...

Yes, maybe the idea will spread and some of our wonderful SAS writers will be able to take part in a project like this.

Rosalind Adam said...

What an excellent project. The children will, of course, have learnt far more than how to write a booklet from this experience. This is education at its best.

Keren David said...

What a great project - and as you have to wait about three hours to be seen in A&E at the Whittington, there's plenty of time for young patients to read each and every word!

Miriam Halahmy said...

Right Keren! The kids certainly reflected that in the booklet. Ros - I think the kids learnt a huge amount from this project.