Poetry and the Heart in London Schools: health education supported by healthy heart charity the CRT.

Wendy French

Poets Wendy French and Jo Roach have been engaging children in health of the heart through poetry workshops supported by the healthy heart charity the Cardiovascular Research Trust. Edited poems by the children will be posted on the CRT’s website.

The poets have visited children aged 8-10 in Surrey Libraries on National Poetry day, in classes at Botwell House School in Hayes in Middlesex, at Goodhurt Primary School in Southwark and at Chevening Primary School in Kent.

Teachers at Goudhurst reported that the sessions also gave the children confidence, many children going on to read their poems in the School Assembly.

Botwell class teacher Mrs Forde said: “It was lovely to see how engaged the children were and how excited they were by the poems they produced. It was a great opportunity for them to learn about looking after their health in such a creative way. I would highly recommend the workshop.”

Another teacher at Botwell said: “As the class teacher, I found the workshop very enjoyable. The entire class was fully engaged throughout the session and seemed to have found the topic quite interesting. The children felt very comfortable to participate in the discussions and respond to the leaders. They were provided with a calm atmosphere to write their poems and produced some great pieces of work.”

The children were enthusiastic about combining writing poetry with learning abiout the heart and how to keep it healthy. They also loved the idea that their poems might be on a website!

Trinity at Bothwell said: “I really enjoyed today’s workshop. Do you know what a heart really looks like? They wouldn’t put that on a Valentines Card!”

Ryan said: “The workshop was really fun. I enjoyed learning about the heart and getting the chance to write my own poem. Thank you.”

Shawn added ” I love poetry. I think my poem was very good.”

During 2017, Wendy and Jo will be working with children with special learning needs at City and Islington College. They will also be running workshops in May for Beaumaris Scouts and other youth groups as part of their yearly festival.

If would like your school to become involved in future projects on Poetry and the Heart, please contact the Cardiovascular Research Trust at hearthealthycharity@gmail.com

The Cardiovascular Research Trust was founded in 1996. The CRT aims to encourage policy makers to include a major focus on preventing premature disease of the heart and circulation within public health strategy.

Improving public health has a vital role in approaches to preventing serious disorders of the heart and circulation. These cause around half of all adult deaths in the UK. Effective promotion of a healthy lifestyle in the young is a very important way to reduce risk and severity of diseases of the heart and blood vessels in adults.

The CRT is for a second year supporting the International Hippocrates Young Poets Prize for Poetry and Medicine. Previous winners of this major prize have come from the UK, the USA and Hong Kong.

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