The co-design model in action

This page gives teachers an overview of the co-design model. There are three phases to this sequence of activities that kids will work through:

  1. Kids learn about healthy places and the role that their surroundings have in shaping health.
  2. Kids audit their own neighbourhood and the places they use regularly.
  3. Using the audit data, kids participate in a workshop to co-design solutions for creating healthy places.  

The third phase, the workshop, produces a series of practical solutions your council can draw on as it develops its community strategy and plan. 

We’ve developed the sequence of activities aimed at the upper primary and lower secondary school levels but we have provided some suggestions for adapting them to early childhood or upper secondary school contexts. We’ve also provided curriculum maps that identify a range of curriculum connections so you can embed the project in your teaching plan. You can find these here

We’ve encouraged councils to connect with you so they can work alongside you and your students. We also encourage you to connect with your local council and let them know you and your students are engaged with the project. This connection provides an authentic learning context for your students.

Getting to know the model

Below you’ll find details about each phase of the model. This overview should also help you scaffold the different activities into lesson plans and assessment tasks.

Don't worry, all the details and instructions are also incorporated into the website toolkit builder. And once you build your bespoke website (via our toolkit builder) all you need to do is give your class the unique weblink the toolkit builder provides you with. 

Introduction: setting the scene 

Before launching into the audit process, we set the scene for kids so they know what they’ll be doing and why. If they’re old enough, kids can read this introduction for themselves – otherwise, their teachers, parents or carers can talk them through it.  

The text explains that councils want to hear from kids so they can understand how kids use the places in their neighbourhood. Councils, the introduction explains, want to know how best to fix the issues that might be getting in the way of these places being as healthy as possible. 

This sets up the task and invites the kids to help councils understand how healthy their local neighbourhood is in relation to healthy eating and being active.

Phase 1: kids learning about healthy places

After the kids have been introduced to the project, the next phase is to help them understand how places affect their health and the health of the wider community.

An animation explains how physical and social surroundings impact on healthy eating and being active. The animation will help them develop the health literacies they’ll need to successfully participate in the project. They’ll develop other literacies, too, as they work through the sequence. You can preview this animation here

Once the kids have watched it, it’s a good idea to spend some time drawing out the different examples from the animation, and brainstorming some others, so they have a comprehensive list to think about. The concepts here may be difficult for some kids to grasp so we have provided some materials for you in our resource section that can help you do this. Click here to go to these teacher resources.

Phase 2: 
kids auditing their everyday places

The kids now have some understanding about how healthy eating and being active can be affected by the neighbourhood’s physical and social features. Their next task is to audit their everyday places. We’ve posed a central ‘critical inquiry’ question: 

What are the physical and social features of your neighbourhood that might affect healthy eating and being active?

To answer this, we’ve supplied three audit options you could get your kids to do. You can choose just one or you can combine them using the toolkit builder.

The aim of the audits is to encourage kids to collect local data or provide data that will help them answer the question above. 

The three options are:

  • a quick audit
  • a digital story audit
  • an online survey.

As these tools are designed for primary and secondary aged kids, early childhood teachers are instead encouraged to use a narrative model that is described here

Data collected from the audits takes the form of:

  • photos
  • drawings
  • animations
  • digital stories
  • survey results.

The data is essential for the overall project as it is integral to Phase 3: the Kids Co-designing Healthy Places workshop.

The Kids Gallery will be a helpful resource for your students. We have provided some examples of photos and a digital story that they can view to help them better understand the task.

Phase 3: 
kids co-designing healthy places

Once the kids have completed their audits, the next step is for council staff, working with you, to set up a workshop that gives the kids a chance to review the audit data.

At the workshop, the kids will get a chance to co-design possible solutions that councils could include in their strategies and plans for the community.    

The workshop can be run in your classroom, though councils may wish to work with larger cohorts or offer off-site opportunities for kids to meet and work through this phase of the sequence.

If you can’t connect with council, you can run the workshop yourself and send the final recommendations into council for consideration. You could of course do this at any time as a way to provide kids with an authentic audience for their learning and assessment purposes. 

Instructions and resources for the workshop can be found here

What's next?

Review the curriculum links here or head to straight to the toolkit builder.