In 1993, Alberta Asthma Centre developed asthma education curriculum for 6-12 year olds. This curriculum includes lesson plans, 70 fun and interactive games, art and activities to be hosted in schools by trained health professionals, in a small group setting. The program’s aim is to build knowledge, skills and support for children with asthma to enable them to self-manage. Unique features include:
- “Puff, the Asthmasaurus” mascot. Puff participates with the kids and demonstrates how he survived extinction by learning self-management skills.
- Planning and preparation information/templates for facilitators.
- The curriculum is organized in 6 sessions however, the timeframes and delivery format are flexible; the curriculum can be condensed or extended, provided at lunch, after school or in camps.
- School assembly plans.
In 2011-12, in partnership with First Nations communities, asthma educators and Asthma Society of Canada, Alberta Asthma Centre adapted RAP lesson plans, created 35 new activities and launched The Legend of Tahnee, the Wolf: My Asthma Journey activity book. Highlights are:
- Tahnee, the Wolf, is introduced as Puff’s buddy mascot. Although the wolf’s symbolism varies by community, region and group, research indicated positive themes of leadership, teaching, community and wisdom. Use of the wolf was endorsed by communities’ members and children.
- The new art, content and Legend incorporate Elders, story-telling, colour, nature, animals, support of family/friends, humour, circle, self-management, lung health and general health/wellness themes.
- The new version is designed to be used as stand alone or with the asthma education curriculum.
- Glossary of terms in short, colourful text boxes, with pictures.
- “Your Stories” feature for children, families and communities to submit anecdotes, photos and artistic expressions.
- Minimal text; uses illustrations to teach. For example, to simplify information, cartoon characters were created to depict healthy (“The Relax-i-nator”, “Agent Invisible”, “Mr. Smooth”) and unhealthy airways (“Spazzzm”, “The Booger Man” and “Puff Daddy”). Also, used pictures of facial features/body language to illustrate symptoms and emotions.
- In the “Find the Triggers” exercise, it incorporates triggers relevant to First Nations children including pets, forest fire, campfire, gravel dust, virus, overcrowding, household chemicals, mould and cigarette smoke.
- Includes asthma action plan in response to “A Shared Voice” recommendations (97% of respondents indicated would use an asthma action plan).