How to plan and run the Kids Co-designing Healthy Places workshop

On this page you’ll find information for both council staff and teachers about how to plan and deliver the 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 recommendations that will feed into a council’s Municipal Public Health and Wellbeing Plan 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. You can also get lots of ideas from the design toolkits in the resources section.

The activities outlined here have been designed for a two-hour workshop. 

Tip

We recommend having around 20–30 kids participate in each workshop, though it’s fine to have more or fewer.

Purpose of the co-design workshop

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 improve the healthy living in their neighbourhood. In the workshop, the kids will: 

  • discuss the data collected during the auditing phase of the project
  • identify the physical and social features in their neighbourhood that affect health
  • come up with, and prioritise, solutions with council staff to incorporate into council policies and planning.
Getting ready for the workshop

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 to make sure 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.

Preparing the data and materials

Before running the workshop, you’ll need to have collected relevant data from the kids’ audits collected during Phase 2. This data needs to be available to share at the workshop, and this can involve a fair bit of work.   

Online workshops

If you are going to run workshops online you will need to consider hosting the data on a website or sharing data files that are easily accessible to participants.  You may also want to consider using a platform that enables online collaboration, such as Miro, Padlet or MindMeister

Here’s a checklist of the things you’ll need to do to get ready.

Preparing for the Kids Co-designing Healthy Places workshop

1.

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)


2.

Organise your data packages for kids:

  • If you used the survey option, provide a visual summary (graphs, for example) of the data.
  • Print photos and images.
  • Organise digital files – you may like to create a website that hosts the digital data (de-identified digital images, stories and audio files).

If you're using the survey, separate the responses to the question ‘If I was mayor for a day’. Hold this data back until the last stage of the workshop when kids are thinking about recommendations. 

You may decide to give different data packages to different tables OR you may decide to give every table the same data package. The decision here will depend on how much data you have and the amount of time you have available. 

Print or use screens to display copies of the kids' photographs, screenshots and digital stories.


3.

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.


4.

Download and prepare copies of these resources:

Make sure you have enough sets per table. For the workbooks you’ll need one for each child.


5.

Council staff should prepare some examples of previous projects or changes that have been made in the council area to improve community health. Share these with kids as a slide in the making recommendations part of the workshop.


6.

Choose facilitators (teachers or council staff) who will guide each table of kids as they complete the workshop activities and brief them on what they will need to do.


7.

Collect any additional materials you will need. You'll need Textas and pens, butcher's paper, a projector and computer, Blu Tack, Post-it notes (small and large) and stickers (coloured dots).

Running the workshop

Below, you’ll find instructions for a two-hour workshop. We have divided the workshop into four main stages plus a brief wrap-up:

  1. Welcome and setting the scene
  2. Understanding healthy places: sorting the data
  3. Understanding healthy places: analysing the data
  4. Co-designing solutions for creating healthy places
  5. Closing the workshop

You can decide to run a longer or shorter workshop, adjusting the timing of each phase to suit your needs.

Before participants arrive, depending on how many kids you expect, organise tables and place data packages and resources on the tables. We would suggest five kids per table. If parents are attending, they’re welcome to sit with their kids.

The workshop is based on data packages that could contain a mix of printed and digital material.  

1. Welcome and setting the scene 00–15 min

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:

PowerPoint slides


Steps: Using the slide presentation, complete the following steps.


1.1 Offer an 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

Tip

Make sure you highlight the key question for the day, ‘How can we create a healthier neighbourhood together?’ (Use a 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.

Tip

You will come back to this slide in later in the workshop.

2. Understanding healthy places: sorting the data 15–40 min

This stage of the workshop is when kids sort the data into four themes: 

  • Healthy eating
  • Being active 
  • Feeling safe in my neighbourhood
  • Not sure

You will need to spread the healthy places themes posters out on each table.

Tip

Encourage kids to describe the data to the group and then make a decision about what theme the data should sit under. (If the data is digital kids will first need to transcribe it to a Post-it note.) This sorting process will help kids become familiar with all of the data before they analyse it.


Materials you will need:

Presentation slides; data packages; healthy places themes posters (one set for each table); large Post-it notes or blank postcards; pens or pencils; kids’ workbooks


Steps


2.1 Sorting the data

Show the instructions for this step on a presentation slide so everyone can see and refer back to them and know what they are expected to do. The prompt questions will be on this slide as well.

Facilitators ask each table to look at the data and begin to sort and collate it. 

Get each of the kids to select a piece of data and give them time to think about how they would describe the data and what they notice (based on the prompts).

As the facilitator, you should start and provide an example for the kids to follow. 

Encourage kids to take notes in their workbooks about the data. 

Once everyone on the table has allocated their first piece of data to a theme, kids can select another piece of data and continue the process until all the data is allocated.

Ask the table to review the allocations and comment on if they agree with how the data has been collated.

Tip

If someone thinks something needs to change, ask them to move the data to where they think it should be and ask them to justify why it should be moved to a different theme. Open this up for discussion. Does the table agree? Why? Why not?

If there are some pieces of data that not everyone can agree on where they belong, put them under the ‘Not sure’ theme.

3. Understanding healthy places: analysing the data 40–75 min

In this section each table analyses the data and begins to identify the main issues they would like the council to address. Kids will be asked to make a decision about which category the data should go in:  

  • Helpful for people’s health
  • Harmful for people’s health
  • Not sure what it means for people’s health

Similar to the process above, you will need to spread the healthy places analysis posters out on the table to encourage kids to think about the data and make a judgement about its impact on health.

Tip

Facilitators also need to be prepared to ask questions that support kids as they make their decisions. Ideally, kids should make notes in their workbooks. They should be more familiar with this process based on the last activity. 

Kids will have different viewpoints and it's important everyone has the opportunity to share their views and also change their minds about any decisions they have made based on the conversations. If there are different viewpoints, get kids to write them down and acknowledge there are different perspectives. There is room for indecision in this process: that is what the ‘Not sure’ category is for!

Plan whether you’ll use the kids’ tables or a graffiti wall format to display the healthy places analysis posters. You may prefer to use both. You could start by working on tables to analyse and sort the data, then add sticky Post-it notes to the walls. Your decision here will depend on the space.


Materials you will need:

Presentation slides; healthy places analysis posters; Blu Tack; Post-it notes; pencils, pens or Textas; kids’ workbooks


Steps


3.1 Data analysis

Remove the pieces of data from the healthy places themes posters you used in the previous activity so you can reuse the data. Lay out the healthy places analysis posters on each table or stick them on the graffiti wall, one for each table.

Ask the table to look at the data objects and then make a decision about which category the data should go in: 

  • Helpful for people’s health
  • Harmful for people’s health
  • Not sure what it means for people’s health

Tip

While the kids are working to analyse the data, encourage them to talk about the key things they see in the data. You can use the list of questions provided on the presentation template to help kids delve deeper and prioritise the data.


3.2 Post-it note voting activity

Once the data has been sorted and discussed, ask each kid to write down what they think the five major issues from the analysis are. Have each kid record one issue per Post-it note. 

Next, on their Post-it notes, ask them to rank the issues they have identified by allocating numbers related to importance: 5 = most important > 1 = least important. 

Now it is time to tally the numbered votes. First, ask each table to combine their issues by order of importance (ranked 5–1) so you have five different clusters of Post-it notes on the table.

Take some time as a table to make a note of the different issues and how kids voted on their importance.

You could ask kids to:

  • identify similarities and differences across the issues and their numbered votes
  • explain the reasons why they have allocated their numbered votes in the way that they have
  • revise their numbered votes and make changes if need be.

While this process is happening, make a note of the different issues identified by the kids. Once all of the issues have been noted down, tally the votes by counting the total number received for each issue. The five issues with the highest votes become the table’s priority areas. At this stage it would be good to discuss how the voting process worked and what are the positives and negatives of using that process for identifying priority issues in the group. If there is time, ask someone from each table to present the main issues they have prioritised and why.

4. Co-designing solutions for improving community health 75–115 min

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.

Council staff should introduce this section by providing an overview of their role and responsibilities in communities and present some case studies of the ways local councils have made changes in the community to support healthy eating or being active.

Ideally, council staff will spend time engaging with kids as they come up with their solutions so that they are co-designed.

During this process you might find yourself having to say things that help kids think through their ideas. 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 …
  • That is a great start, what do you think we could do next …
  • 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; 5 large sheets of butcher's paper; stickers (coloured dots)


Steps


4.1 Co-designing 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 large sheets of butcher’s paper. One sheet per priority.  

Stick the butcher’s paper up on a wall so you have individual ‘graffiti walls’ for each table to add their ideas to. If there is no room, you can leave them on the table.  

Invite each table to come up with as many ideas as they can to design a healthy neighbourhood. Encourage the kids to think creatively. What could they design? Build? Change? Create? Remove? Adapt? Offer? 

Kids write their different ideas down on Post-it notes and place them on the graffiti walls.  

Starting with the number one priority area, ask the kids responsible for each proposed solution to quickly present their ideas to the table. Ask them to present the pros and cons of their solution and comment on whether the solution is easy or difficult to implement, and why.  

Finally, give each table three sticky dots and ask them to vote for the solutions they think are best. Tally up the dots and transcribe the results onto the worksheet to submit to councils. You can also take photos of the graffiti walls.

5. Closing the workshop 115–120 min

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:

Presentation slide


Steps:


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.
After the workshop

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.