A Badge Mission today keeps the doctor away - Sharon Middleton

An example of a mission health badge children and young people can earn
An example of a mission health badge children and young people can earn

I remember a time in my childhood when I religiously ate an apple every day. It seemed like a habit worth making.

Today, children and young people are ravenous for technology, habitually reaching for a piece of tech, generally with a screen, to message friends, reach the next level, build the next world or simply (as is often the case with my five year old) to collect enough coins on Temple Run.

Good choices

I’m unsure how I feel about my two daughters’ use of the technology that surrounds them (they both take very different approaches) or how I can help them to make some good choices when they reach for the screen.

As a mother, the idea of young people earning Open Badges that help them develop positive health and life skills that will keep them safe and healthy - while they are enjoying technology - certainly appeals.

The news media often share startling health statistics, and recently I learned that one of the top reasons for children (especially under fives!) being admitted to hospital is to have their teeth operated on. Link to BBC News story.

With this sort of thing in mind, I was over the moon to work with the Department of Health on a series of Health Badges Missions ( or for 5-19 year olds that promote positive health literacy, early intervention/prevention, and the chance for children to develop a deeper understanding of these processes.

Eager students

When it is presented in the right, relevant format for them, children are hungry for this kind of information. From my work at Makewaves, I know they are very interested in discovering a Badge Mission, working hard to complete it and then proudly earning, displaying, and sharing their achievement with the world.

This short film shows how pupils from Snowsfields Primary School feel about the health badge missions on Makewaves.

Open Badges are a new form of accreditation that is revolutionising the way we recognise and endorse skills and achievements. See YouTube video

 The Public Health Badge Missions launched to the Makewaves  safe social network of 70,000 children, young people and teachers in September.

Over 250 children have taken the Health Badge Missions. The missions include:

Inspiring change through informed decision making

Children and young people are challenged to conduct fun (and often gross) experiments to deepen their understanding, then to create their own media (videos, stories, role plays, images) to share this understanding and positive health messages with their friends. The project will encourage young people to create their own media to share; similar to this video created by pupils keen to help address a different but common school problem.

We are piloting these badges with the aim of inspiring change in young people’s behaviour. Whether you are a young person, a teacher, a school nurse, or a youth group leader, we want everyone to join us and help build the momentum behind these potentially revolutionary badges.

Contact me if you’re interested to give it a whirl and take a badge today


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