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Comedy teaches students about hygiene, nutritious meals

Update: March, 17/2017 - 11:28
A scene from A Strange Tale in Fairy Land, which teaches primary school students about the importance of washing hands, brushing teeth and eating nutritious meals. —VNS.Photo Gia Lộc
Viet Nam News

HCM CITY — At the sight of the threatening orange and blue bacteria, the students screamed, “Get away! Get away!”

Dressed in costumes resembling harmful bacteria, the actors danced, sang and discussed ways to invade the bodies of children in the play A Strange Tale in Fairy Land, staged at the IDECAF (Institut D’Echanges Culturels avec la France) theatre in HCM City on March 15.

In the play, the Queen and her generals, known as Protection General, Nutrition General and Pretty Tooth General, handily defeated the evil harbingers of disease.

The Queen, recognising the danger that poor hygiene poses to children, encouraged her citizens to promote regular hand-washing, brushing of teeth and nutritious meals.

“Children should have a health examination once every six months,” she told her subjects.

Besides the queen’s advice, her generals showed the students the right way to wash their hands and brush their teeth. They also spoke about eating the right fruits and vegetables, and the importance of physical activities.

Khiếu Tùng Lâm, a fifth grader, said it was the first time he had seen a comedic play. 

“It was fun and interesting. I understood the script easily," he said. 

While the actors performed, the children in the audience, students at Trần Quốc Thảo Primary School and Bình An Ability Improvement Centre in HCM City, brushed their teeth and danced as they washed their hands.

Nguyễn Anh Tuấn, a teacher at the school, said: “The play can teach science and health issues because it really attracts the students’ attention.”

From March 20-31, the comedy will be staged at 20 primary schools in the districts of Châu Thành and Ba Tri in the Mekong Delta province of Bến Tre.

Each 50-minute show includes 35 minutes for performances and the remaining for quizzes and games about information presented in the show.

Seventy primary-school teachers and other educational staff in Bến Tre Province will receive training in the methodology of science teaching from June 26-30.

A science festival day for children and teachers will be held at two primary schools in the province on October 28.

The play A Strange Tale in Fairy Land is part of the Science Theatre programme on health and science issues, designed to improve awareness about infectious diseases and children’s health, said Dr Mary Chambers, head of public engagement with science at Oxford University’s Clinic Research Unit.

Between 2010 and 2016, two comedies, An Amazing Battle, about enteric disease and antibiotic resistance, and The Tiny Enemies, about dengue fever and mosquito breeding sites, were performed at primary schools in HCM City, Hà Nội and several provinces in the Mekong Delta region.

Three of the scripts were developed by the Nhà Hát Trẻ Theatre Company.

Nguyễn Thị Phương Anh, who has two children, aged 3 and 5, said: “These comedies are vital for teaching science to kids, but I wish they were also offered at kindergartens.” —VNS







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