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About The Pillowcase Project

Pupils take part in the Pillowcase Project

It is estimated that natural disasters have affected approximately 250 million people worldwide every year in the last decade. More than half of those affected have been children (IFRC 2010).


The Pillowcase Project is an emergency preparedness education programme, initiated by the American Red Cross and funded by The Walt Disney Company it is now happening in six other countries including the UK.


The project helps children aged 7–11 develop understanding, and the skills to cope with and respond to any weather-related emergency they may face. As part of the programme, children decorate an emergency ‘grab bag’ pillowcase with the items they would want to have with them in an emergency and take this home with them to share their learning with their family. This project has strong curriculum links; and many of the skills children learn as part of this project can be transferred to other areas of their learning and their lives; including skills such as: communication, coping and listening, problem solving and creative and critical thinking.


The Pillowcase Project is a great way to get children thinking about what they would do if they were affected by severe weather, so they can be prepared for its potential impacts."
Derrick Ryall, Head of Public Weather Service at the Met Office

Learning objectives

Through the project pupils will:


  • Learn about the types of weather-related emergencies they might face in the UK.
  • Learn how to prepare for an emergency.
  • Practice how to safely respond to and cope in an emergency.
  • Share what they have learnt with their friends and family to increase community resilience.


School case studies – using the teaching resource toolkit

Learn how primary schools have used the Pillowcase Project resource toolkit to deliver sessions through creative weeks, extra-curricular sessions and as part of the curriculum.


Ravensfield Primary School

Ravensfield Primary School, Dukinfield, Greater Manchester, delivered the project to 53 pupils aged 7 and 8 during a creative collapsed curriculum week on safety. Read the full case study here.


Horfield Church of England Primary School

Horfield CE Primary School, Bristol, delivered the project off timetable as part of extra-curricular sessions to 53 pupils aged 9 and 10. Read the full case study here.


Westholme Junior School

Westholme Junior School, Blackburn, delivered the project over ten sessions as part of the curriculum to 22 pupils aged 9 and 10. Read the full case study here.


To learn more about the project, watch our video below – simply enter the password “pillowcase” and select “Watch Video”


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