Kesia is a young carer. Children learn about different types of families and the importance of good communication. Includes an emotional timeline.
- To learn that there are different kinds of families
- To understand that sometimes people behave in an unhelpful way because they have problems they don't know how to share
- To understand that communication skills are essential for positive family relationships
- To understand that sometimes young people have to take on adult responsibilities and to learn how they can be supported in this
Key Stage 2 Citizenship and PSHE
- Developing confidence and responsibility and making the most of their abilities - 1a, 1c
- Preparing to play an active role as citizens - 2d, 2e
- Developing good relationships and respecting the differences between people - 4d, 4g
- Breadth of opportunities - 5a, 5b, 5h
Every Child Matters
- Stay safe
- Make a positive contribution
Young carer case study materials
The case study features Kesia whose mother suffered from post-natal depression, forcing Kesia into the role of a young carer. At school she struggled to develop positive relationships with her peers and teachers because she was extremely stressed and distrustful of others. Her inability to talk about her situation - or her feelings - left her isolated and misunderstood. Once the school was aware of her situation, they were able to put extra support in place for her to do the work she had missed and encourage her to attend a Young Carers Club. There she could meet and make friends with other children in the same situation. She learned to trust other people, and was able at last to talk about her problems so that others could understand and help her. From then on her behaviour and her relationships improved.
- Work through the story with the whole class. Let the children share the whole story first, then revisit each of the key moments in turn. Ask the children to imagine how it felt to be Kesia. How is her family life different from their own? Have they ever felt lost or excluded from a group?
- At the end of the case study, on-screen questions prompt the children to think about who they would go to if they needed help and how schools and teachers could help children like Kesia.
- Use the discussion questions below to help you gauge the children's level of understanding of - and empathy towards - young carers and the importance of effective communication.
Suggested questions for discussion
- At the beginning of the story how did Kesia behave towards her teachers and other children at school?
- What does it mean to be a young carer?
- What special skills do you think Kesia had to have in order to look after herself as well as her younger brother?
- When did things start to get better for Kesia?
- What do you think was the most important thing that Kesia had to do in order to get on better with people?
- Mental illness can happen to anyone. Why is it important to get the right help?
The following supporting information from The Children's Society on young carers and the associated issues will help you deal with the questions in this case study. These resources will be particularly useful if a child in your class is directly affected by the issues covered.
Online activity 1: Building a happy home
The children are asked to drag and drop statements into different rooms of a house to help them identify what they need to be happy. They then make up other statements of their own to add to the different rooms.
Online activity 2: Kesia's timeline
The children are given a set of pictures from which to choose in order to write a story called 'You need a friend.' They drag and drop one of the pictures onto the writing scaffold and create their own story. The story can then be printed out.
Activity sheet 1: My timeline
This sheet invites the children to create a personal history timeline. They draw five pictures of important events in their own lives and add a label describing how they felt at that time, e.g. 'starting school' (nervous, excited, shy) or 'my baby sister was born' (happy, jealous, worried, glad).
Activity sheet 2: Knowing someone cares
This sheet can be taken home and completed with another member of the children's family group, or with a carer. The children are asked to consider and record how they know that someone cares about them and how they themselves can show they care for others.
- Put the children into pairs or small groups and ask them to role play Kesia's story. More able or older children may enjoy writing a short play script based on the story, or creating a new story about a young carer.
- Ask the children to work with a partner to make a list of all the different ways we can communicate with other people, for example talking, body language, writing a letter, sharing a joke, sending an email and so on. Which is their favourite and least favourite way of communicating?
- Invite the children to write a story or poem - or draw and caption a picture - about a time in their own lives when they were unhappy about something that happened at home. How did they sort this out: who did they talk to?
- You could arrange for the children to present the assembly with you. They could work in groups to make a short performance about Kesia's story or research statistics about young carers and present them to the rest of the children in an interesting way. They might use PowerPoint or the interactive whiteboard.
- You could also ask the children to share their views on why it's important to communicate at home.
When you have completed this My Life unit with your pupils, you can access a certificate from the Activity sheets box at the top of this page. You can type in the name of each student and print the personalised certificates. No names will be stored by us.