The idea of the educational workshop arises from the synergy between the researchers of the Istituto Italiano di Tecnologia, coordinator of the European research consortium HERMES, and the teachers of the primary school Natale Gallino in Genoa, who are highly committed to increase the knowledge of children and stimulate their curiosity together with the love for science. The mission of the HERMES project is the development of innovative systems to make brain regeneration possible. One of the objectives is to engage and raise awareness in the non-scientific community towards the fundamental role of science for improving brain health and therefore the quality of life, through advanced technologies of regenerative medicine. HERMES promotes dissemination and communication initiatives such as this laboratory thanks to the partner Eurokleis Srl that deals with communication activities and exploitation of the project results.
The extraordinary desire for knowledge of children is the ideal condition for triggering self-awareness and awareness of the importance of own body health, starting from the brain, which coordinates all vital activities. “What's inside my head?” well-integrates within the first-grade school program which this year included the 5 senses and emotions.
Primary school kids learned the first concepts of brain anatomy down to the neurons which are the fundamental units enabling brain function. They learned that brain damage may cause life-long impairment impairment of specific body functions needed for everyday living and some also shared personal stories about their grandparents.
We discussed the concept of regeneration in nature and provided several examples. All this was the perfect ground to introduce the limited regenerative capacity of the brain and the urgent need for innovative solutions enabling brain regeneration.
Engaging the little ones on the importance of science and the efforts of scientists to find new ways to rebuild brain matter and make brain healthy again was the most exciting part!
Raising awareness among the youngest has a double advantage, stimulating the desire for knowledge thus helping to train future generations of scientists and reaching a much wider target audience, as children are great communicators within their families.
In the Mental Health Awareness Month, our educational workshop was effective in raising, among the youngest, awareness of the importance of brain health for all our vital functions!
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