How to plan and run the Kids Co-designing Healthy Places workshop
On this page you’ll find information about how to plan and deliver the co-design workshop that is key to the Kids Co-designing Healthy Places model.
In this phase, the data the kids have collected becomes the starting point for the development of co-designed solutions that will feed into a council’s Municipal Public Health and Wellbeing Plan, action plans or any other strategy a council might be developing.
Below is a step-by-step guide to planning and running the workshop.
The instructions on this page can be used as a guide in their entirety or you can take aspects and add your own elements based on your needs and the data you have collected from kids.
The activities outlined here have been designed for a two-hour workshop.
We recommend having around 20–30 kids participate in each workshop, though it’s fine to have more or fewer.
The purpose of the workshop is to support kids to contribute their views in conversation with council staff and other adults about how council can create healthier places for kids. In the workshop, the kids will:
- discuss the data collected during the auditing phase of the project
- come up with, and prioritise, solutions with council staff to incorporate into council policies and planning.
Working with kids
For council staff: we recommend these workshops are delivered by staff with facilitation skills, particularly experience in facilitating with kids where possible. If you don’t have these skills in-house, connecting with schools to deliver the workshops together may be helpful.
Workshop facilitators – both council staff and teachers – need to keep in mind that they are there to support kids as they voice their perspectives and create ideas for action. It is important to ensure that the workshop isn’t dominated by adult voices.
All kids' perspectives matter. If a child’s ideas are unclear, take the time to unpack and clarify their message. It might be that you need to re-highlight what it is that councils can do if their suggestions falls outside of your brief.
Preparing the data
Before running the workshop, you’ll need to have collected relevant audit and/or survey data and analysed it so you can share the major findings at the workshop. This can involve a fair bit of work.
Depending on the kind of data you have collected your presentation to kids might include photos taken, digital clips and graphs/charts. If you are reporting on numbers, be sure to round any numbers up/down so they are whole numbers and use visuals (graphs/charts) as well.
You will need to prepare data cards that kids can use in the workshop. We have prepared a set for you that you can download and adapt to fit with your data and context.
Preparing for the Kids Co-designing Healthy Places workshop
Arrange one or two planning meetings to organise facilities, facilitators, equipment, roles and responsibilities and any online set up (if you are running online workshops)
Organise your data and prepare your data presentation slides.
You may also want to provide each table with a copy of your data presentation slides so they can refer to the data throughout the workshop.
Tailor the PowerPoint presentation we’ve provided to suit your context and purposes. You can download it here. You’ll need a data projector in the workshop space.
Having slides kids/facilitators can refer back to for guidance throughout the workshop is helpful.
Remember this workshop is designed so you can adapt it to your own local context. So feel free to edit and adjust.
Download and prepare required copies of any of the following workshop resources :
- Workshop powerpoint slides
- Data cards
- We want to find out more about… posters
- What things impact on…poster
- Co-designing solutions worksheet
Make sure you have enough sets per table for kids to work on during the workshop. You can also create your own workshop assets too. These are just suggestions to help kids familiarise themselves with the data and then unpack it.
Council staff /facilitators should prepare some examples of previous projects or changes that have been made in the council area to improve community health. You will be able to draw on the examples in conversations with kids during the co-designing actions phase.
Choose facilitators (teachers, council staff, youth council members) who will guide each table of kids as they complete the workshop activities and brief them on what they will need to do.
Collect any additional materials you will need. You could need Textas and pens, butcher's paper, a projector and computer, Blu Tack, String, Post-it notes (small and large) and stickers (coloured dots).
Below, you’ll find instructions for a two-hour workshop. We have divided the workshop into seven main stages:
- Welcome and setting the scene
- Sharing kids data
- Unpacking kids data
- Connecting the dots
- Identifying priority issues
- Co-designing solutions for creating healthy places
- Closing the workshop
You can decide to run a longer or shorter workshop, adjusting the timing of each phase to suit your needs. You will also need to factor in breaks for the kids and facilitators.
Before participants arrive, depending on how many kids you expect, organise tables and place resources on the tables. We would suggest five kids per table. If parents are attending, they’re welcome to sit with their kids.
1. Welcome and setting the scene
The purpose here is to welcome all the kids and adults. You’ll introduce the workshop’s aims and take the chance to ensure everyone understands why they’re there. Use the PowerPoint slides to run the kids through the key points.
Materials you will need:
Steps: Using the slide presentation, complete the following steps.
1.1 Acknowledgement of Country
1.2 Introduction to the day
In this section provide an overview of why kids are here and what they will be doing throughout the workshop.
Suggestions about what to include here can be found on the slides you have downloaded.
Make sure you highlight the key question for the day, ‘How can we create healthier places together?’ (Use the presentation slide here to highlight the question for kids.)
1.3 Overview of the council’s role and responsibilities
This is important as it will help kids understand what councils can and can’t do. Be sure to mention the health planning work you are doing.
You will come back to the role of councils slide later in the workshop to remind kids about the kinds of things councils can make decisions about and change.
2. Sharing kids data
The main purpose of this stage is to help kids become familiar with the audit data you have collected and the main issues that emerged from your analysis.
Materials you will need:
Introduce this section by simply stating 'This is what you told us'
How you present the data to kids depends on the kind of data you have collected.
- For survey data - present the data as a series of different graphs.
- For quick audit data - along with your summary of the main issues raised include photos, drawings. word clouds and maps
- For digital story data - provide a summary of the main themes and show one or two digital stories
You may also like to share a copy of the 'sharing the data' presentation slides at each of the workshop tables so kids can refer to it throughout the workshop.
If you want to, you could include other data that you think might be relevant for kids to know about. If you decide to do this, include it first before you move to provide the overview of the kids data. Include visuals - either in the presentation or a handout to help kids understand the data.
You may like to set up a gallery walk or exhibition that showcases kids data. Kids can spend time in the space reviewing the data. Importantly kids can re-visit the gallery walk/exhibition throughout the workshop if they need to inquire more deeply into the data to inform their conversation.
If the data you are presenting includes numbers - make sure you round the numbers up/down to whole numbers. For example 67.1% would become 67%. Where possible include a visual representation for kids as well.
If you had time, you could run a simple quiz at once you have 'shared the data'. We would suggest something that gets kids up and moving You could include a mix of questions that ask kids to stand up or sit down or move to different corners of the room to indicate their response.
3. Unpacking kids data
Once you have presented the data to kids, they need time to unpack the data at their tables.
Posters; Data cards, Post-it notes or blank cards; pens or pencils; blu tack
Data cards are cards pre prepared by you. You need to create a set of cards that contain a list of factors based on the data you have collected from kids about things in their local environment. We have a pre populated list we have generated from a range of local councils. You can download this here and adapt it to suit your context. Make sure you have some blank cards that kids can add new factors too if they need to.
If you collected survey data OR you want to find out more about a particular issue begin this section with the 'We want to find out more about….' posters. For example if safety was identified as a key issue in the survey data spend time unpacking the issue. Ask kids to tell you more about safety in the community and get them to note down the different issues on the poster so you can better understand the issue from a kids point of view. Following using the poster below kids can fill in the dots to shed light on what the main issues are.
First place the poster 'What things impact on…' on the table (see below)
- Each table should have a set of data cards already. Share the cards amongst the group and ask them to place their cards near to the issue that they think the factor on their card impacts on. For example, if they have junk food advertising on their data card - they would put it next to healthy eating.
- Encourage kids to discuss each factor and how it impacts on the identified theme/s. For example using the junk food advertising factor, you could ask the following as a way of developing a deeper understanding of the different factors and their impact:
- what kind of junk food advertising was identified in the data?
- what kids of junk food advertising do you see in your neighbourhood?
- how might it impact on healthy eating?
As kids discuss the different factors make notes on the poster that capture the conversation. The different points will be helpful as you move through the workshop.
If kids think a card relates to more than one issue they should put the card in between the themes . For example public transport could relate to healthy eating (access), feeling safe and being active (access). So it would be placed in the middle of the poster.
Make sure you have some blank cards in the deck for kids to add any other factors they think need to be included (and haven't been). Give kids time to do this at the end of the activity. You can ask 'Is there anything you think needs to be included that we haven't included here?' If you don't have enough cards, kids can write their responses on the poster.
4. Connecting the dots
In this section of the workshop kids will spend time connecting the dots to identify factors that connect to multiple issues. This is an important step as it will help them to start to think about what issues might be the most important for councils to address.
Materials you will need:
String/wool; pencils, pens or Textas;
This activity builds on the work kids have done in the previous activity.
- Ask kids to review the poster and where the different cards have been placed and circle the cards that have been connected to multiple health issues.
- Once they are happy with the placement of the cards and the connections ask them to 'connect the dots' by using string or wool to connect the card to the health issues (you could also ask them to draw lines).
- On completion of the task, use tape to stick the string/wool in place.
As kids work through this process they will make new connections between factors. For example they might connect junk food advertising to public transport. They might decide to move cards around as they make the new connections. This is why using wool / string to make connections is helpful as they can move the it easily or add new pieces.
5. Identifying priorities
In this section of the workshop, kids review the posters and vote for the issues they think are the most important issues to address.
Materials you will need:
Stickers or post it notes (enough for each kid to be able to vote for their top 5 priorities)
Whilst it is up to kids to decide how they spend their votes we would recommend placing an upper limit on how many votes they can spend at once.
- Give kids a set of stickers (up to 15)
- Council staff should introduce this section by providing an overview of their role and responsibilities so that kids can ensure that their priorities can be addressed by council. Present this on a slide so kids can check it as they place their votes.
- Ask kids to place their stickers next to the factors they think are the most important from the data. For example: kids may allocate 5 stickers to the issue they think is most important and so on down to 1 sticker.
- Once complete, tally the numbered votes.
- The five issues with the highest number of votes become the priority issues kids will consider in the next stage of the workshop.
At this stage it is important to facilitate a group discussion about:
- reasons why kids voted for particular factors;
- how the voting process worked; and
- what are the positives and negatives of using this kind of voting process for identifying priority issues in the group.
Before finalising the top 5 issues ask kids to double check whether or not the priorities fall within the remit of council.
6. Co-designing solutions to create healthy places
This step supports kids and council staff to co-design solutions that councils can use in their health planning.
You will use the top five priority issues identified in the previous voting activity. Write them down on a sheet of paper.
Ideally, council staff will spend time engaging with kids as they come up with their solutions so that they are co-designed. Staff should understand themselves as a resource throughout this stage of the workshop. Let kids know you are there to help and they can ask questions as they develop their solutions.
Make sure the issues that kids are discussing are connected to the priority issues identified in the data. It is really important that kids are designing solutions that respond to the data and the priority areas identified. This will ensure that solutions are relevant and able to be actioned by council.
The following prompts could be helpful in generating conversations and supporting further thinking:
- How would you …
- What could you do to adapt/change/remove/develop … why?
- That is a great start, what do you think we could do …
- What do you think other people might think if we tried …
- What does the rest of the group think we could do here to …
- How might we …
- That is a great idea, how could we …
Materials you will need:
Co-designing solutions worksheet, slide presentation – council case studies; pens, pencils or Textas
4.1 Getting creative - brainstorming solutions
Inform each table that their task is to design a healthy neighbourhood in response to the top five issues they identified through analysing the data.
- List each table’s five priorities on a large sheets of butcher’s paper.
- Ask kids to brainstorm as many ideas as they can to address each of the priority issues.
Encourage the kids to think creatively and talk about their ideas.
- What could they design? Build? Change? Create? Remove? Adapt? Offer?
- What are the pros and cons of the different ideas? Time? Cost?
It is important that council representatives are part of the brainstorming process. BUT make sure that your role is a supportive one that contributes to kids offering and working through their solutions.
You could conduct the brainstorm as a whole group activity by sticking butcher’s paper up on the walls. Encourage kids to look at the different priority areas and contribute their solutions to the graffiti walls via larger sticky notes (or they can write on the butcher's paper)
4.2 Documenting group solutions
Using the poster 'Co-designing healthy places' get kids to record their priority issues and their suggestions for addressing the priority issue
If there is time, or if there are a lot of ideas, you could conduct another voting process similar to before.
Once kids have filled in the worksheet, collect this from them.
7. Closing the workshop
The workshop’s final stage explains to participants what next steps the council will take and how the information they have co-developed will be used.
Materials you will need:
Council staff should take the chance to underline the importance of the kids’ contributions, during the workshop and leading up to it. Council staff describe what they’ll do next as they develop their plans and strategies. This section should include:
- timelines for planning
- other activities that the council undertakes
- how you will inform kids about the process and outcomes.
It is important for you and the kids to have a chance to reflect on the workshop and the overall process.
You could get kids to fill in an evaluation form if you have one or get them to write a structured reflection based around what they learnt and how they felt about the process. Teachers might want to tie this reflection to relevant achievement standards to help reporting.
Once the relevant council plan or strategy has been developed, council staff should liaise with teachers to report back to the kids who participated. This gives the kids the opportunity to see how their design solutions were incorporated. This reporting could take the form of a meeting, or it could be a short video sent out to participants.
Incorporated solutions could be highlighted on council or school websites to show the community how kids’ perspectives fed into the council’s community health strategy.
Council staff should also consider ways to keep kids involved in the delivery of actions that stem from their ideas. Kids can continue to provide valuable insights on the design and usability of the neighbourhood features the council will change.