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WVU medical, education experts create project to help parents ‘look for the helpers’ during COVID-19 pandemic

adults work with kids dressed in scrubs gowns

WVU Nursery School students dress up as medical professionals for dramatic play as they learn about the “helpers” during the coronavirus outbreak. (WVU Photo/Melissa Workman)

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What’s the news?

A group of medical and education experts at West Virginia University is asking parents to take the advice of Mr. (Fred) Rogers and “look for the helpers” during the COVID-19 pandemic. Leveraging Education To Show Gratitude of Occupations (LETS GO), aims to educate youth about a number of careers essential to combatting the virus, from epidemiologists and health officers to food service workers and custodians. The project also aims to share gratitude for the essential workers. As students learn about each field, they are asked to create a card or sign, snap a photo or write a letter to share with workers in that profession.

Quotes and comments 

“This is a great opportunity to teach, as well as say thanks. We wanted to leverage education to teach students about different occupations, their roles and how they’re helping. It’s been a huge effort to convert learning modalities in a short amount of time, so we wanted to provide this resource, which can be tailored to different age levels. 

“This project is a reminder that we’re all in this together. We’re going to have to be creative, and to find ways to support one another. Sharing messages of support and expressing kindness goes a long way. As a physician, I’m grateful for the outpouring of love, but we want to share that love with all the folks who are helping.” — Dr. Lisa Costello, Assistant Professor, Department of Pediatrics

“Our classrooms around the nation have a rare opportunity to learn about community helpers who are diligently working to fight the virus so that we all can return to some sort of normal. During this challenging time, children need to hear about how people are working on their behalf to keep them safe and healthy because this reassures them that we will get through this challenge. Children are inundated with news about the virus and much of it is very troubling. Offering children guided opportunities to learn about professionals with a variety of ‘super hero powers’ could be very impressionable for our students.” — Melissa Workman, Director WVU Nursery School, Instructor Learning Sciences and Human Development 

“Gratitude has been linked to increased well-being, both for the person initiating an act of thanks and those who are receiving the thank you. Our hope is that this effort will provide emotional support both for the COVID-19 pandemic heroes/helpers, as well as the children and families who will be sharing their gratitude for the persons in these fields.” — Dr. Amy Root, Associate Professor, Child Development & Family Studies


Learning Curriculum Information:

West Virginia Pre-K Standards

Next Generation Science Standards

Gratitude Submission Form

WVU Dept. of Learning Sciences and Human Development Facebook

Upload files no larger than 10 MB. (Messages will be gathered and shared with workers in each profession. ) 

To join the conversation on social media channels, search and tag posts #LETSGOgratitude. Daily lesson ideas will be available at the WVU Dept. of Learning Sciences and Human Development Facebook page.

Target Audiences

  • Parents and guardians
  • Teachers
  • Child care workers
  • Education reporters



CONTACT: Wendy Holdren
Senior Communications Specialist
Health Sciences Center

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