All growls but no grumbles when Louisa runs school workshop

Bowel & Cancer Research has led a pilot project to help increase schoolchildren’s awareness of gut health.

The aim was to discover whether the book, ‘Your Growling Guts’ by Paul Mason, could help deliver engaging activity to support gut health awareness amongst 7 to 11-year-olds.

Enter Louisa Smalley, an ambassador for Bowel & Cancer Research and a former teacher.

I took one look at ‘Your Growling Guts’ and knew I could definitely do something meaningful with it

said Louisa who now runs a childcare company, Chuckles UK Ltd, in Brentwood, Essex.

With the help of the headteacher and staff at Doddinghurst Primary School in Essex she arranged a learning day with 200 children, aged 7 to 11 in four year groups.

Using ‘Your Growling Guts’ as an educational resource, the aim was to improve children’s understanding of the gut and digestive system, and to encourage healthy food choices in future.

There were three learning stations centred on information contained in the book: a quiz, a food sorting exercise and a board game aimed at teaching the children which actions can help or hinder the digestive process.

"We also introduced the Daily Mile so the children all had 15 minutes of exercise,” said Louisa.

“The feedback was very positive. The children had a lot of fun and the evaluation we carried out showed that they had learned a lot and that the book was a successful tool for achieving an understanding of the gut.”

The project dovetailed into Bowel & Cancer Research’s I’ve Got Guts campaign which aims to raise awareness of gut issues.

Chief Executive of Bowel & Cancer Research Deborah Gilbert said: “Obesity and poor diet are growing health concerns. Around half of all cases of bowel cancer can be attributed to lifestyle with obesity being a key risk factor.

Worryingly, by year six, more than one third of children in the UK are overweight or obese. That’s why getting healthy eating messages across to children as early as possible is essential.

“Your Growling Guts sends out all the right messages.”

It was Tracey Richardson, Partnerships & Licensing Director at Louis Kennedy, who first approached Bowel & Cancer Research, having spotted ‘Your Growling Guts’.

"I immediately thought it had the potential to be a great resource for the charity to support the ‘I've Got Guts’ campaign,” she said.