PARENTS

'Moggy's Coming' Book Is Being Used In Schools To Teach Young Children About Terror Attacks

'Be prepared, not scared.'

22/08/2017 15:09 BST

Children are being taught how to prepare for and react to terror attacks through a storybook read in schools.

The resource has been created by citizenAID charity, an initiative sounded by four UK civilian and military clinicians who are working to “improve public resilience”.

Events such as the Manchester bombing and the Barcelona attack have shown that children, as well as adults, can be caught up terror attacks.

“Some knowledge and skills are therefore appropriate for children to stay safe and to help others, where realistic,” Tim Hodgetts, who works at citizenAID told HuffPost UK.

“The message for young children is a generic one - how to react if someone is trying to hurt you. This is as relevant to the more frequent knife crime incidents, as it is to infrequent terrorist events.” 

CitizenAid

CitizenAID’s aim is to empower the next generation with the skills and knowledge that they need to stay safe.

As part of this, they have developed ‘Moggy’s Coming’, an ebook written for younger children, which will help teachers and parents to talk about the principles of “Run, Hide, Tell, Treat”.

“Moggy’s Coming’ teaches children how to react in any situation where a child may perceive someone is trying to hurt them,” said Hodgetts.

“It emphasises the national police safety message in these circumstances of ‘Run Hide Tell’ and introduces the concept of ‘when safe to do so treat those who are hurt’.

“For young children it is about understanding treatment will be given by adults until help arrives.” 

The ‘Moggy’s Coming’ story is based at Mulberry School for mice. It features a class who are taught by their teacher what they should do if a cat were ever to break into their school.

The children take part in a practise drill, based around the “Run, Hide, Tell, Treat” message: they run into their classroom and hide.

CitizenAid
A page from "Moggy's Coming'.

When Moggy does come to the school, the children are prepared and follow their drill.

Some children hide outside and the reader is reminded that if they can see the mice, then so can the cat.

The teacher blocks the classroom door with furniture and whispers a telephone message to the police.

Two mice are injured and are treated by the teacher while hiding quietly in the classroom, and Moggy is captured by the police.  

The idea for the book was devised by Hodgetts, who is a medical director for the Defense Medical Services and an emergency physician. It has been designed specifically as the first of a series of age-contextualised materials for use by teachers. 

CitizenAid

The cartoon-based teaching materials, made freely available to teachers through citizenAID, hope to contribute to a greater awareness of how to stay safe. 

To create the book, citizenAID consulted with primary and secondary school teachers. What changes with each age group is how the cartoons are used - for the youngest children it’s a story of a cat loose in a school of mice; for middle school children it’s an allegory of a lion loose in a school of children; and for secondary school children it’s how to react in an active shooting incident.

“To engage the youngest children, the cartoon story is complemented by two nursery rhymes and a poem,” explained Hodgetts.

″‘Moggy’s Coming’ is sung to the tune of ‘London’s burning’.

“This is of course a sensitive issue to talk about. Using an illustrated story that shows the mice dealing well with a most difficult situation, aims to give confidence and reassurance that you can ‘be prepared, not scared’.”

CitizenAid

Hodgetts explained in a pilot study testing the teaching materials with around 500 teachers in Birmingham (two-thirds were primary school teachers), 100% stated they would use the materials to educate their students and that a cartoon-based discussion was an appropriate means to communicate the message with them.

“Ordinary people can save lives through simple actions,” he said. “CitizenAID is teaching our young people ‘good citizenship’.” 

The ebook will be available to teachers for free in CitizenAID’s education pack for schools and it also available to buy on Amazon. All the proceeds from the sale of the ebook go to the citizenAID Charity.