This is an H3
Schools are in the unique position to convey health information to a large number of young people. This opportunity comes with the responsibility to help students develop healthy sun safe habits.
Ideally, students should receive age-appropriate instruction on sun protection at every grade level. But even instruction at one grade level would be beneficial. Skin cancer prevention can be included as part of a Coordinated School Health Program or integrated into other subject areas. Studies indicate that skin cancer prevention is most effective when taught as part of a comprehensive health education curriculum. The curriculum should focus on student understanding of the relationship between personal behavior and health, as well as provide the knowledge and skills needed for healthy living.1
Tips to provide education for districts and staff:
- Incorporate sun safety into the Local Wellness Policy
- Write and implement a policy requiring sun safety education at one or more grade levels
- Choose a sun safety curriculum to be used in schools
- Ensure that the sun safety curriculum aligns with state and/or district education standards
- Each year, designate several hours of classroom instruction to sun safety. Incorporate age-appropriate sun safety (skin cancer prevention) activities or curricula into lesson plans
- Include sun safety education for teachers during in-service trainings
- Designate a sun safety month and provide staff with sun safety education for their own use
Tips to provide education for schools and students:
- Encourage teachers to incorporate sun safety education into their lesson plans and across subjects
- Encourage teachers and school nurses to address skin cancer prevention with their students
- Encourage students to become sun safety peer educators and role models for younger children or students from other schools
- Have students announce the daily UV Index during morning announcements
- Encourage students to write articles about sun safety for school newsletters and yearbooks, and local newspapers. Try to integrate sun safety education across subjects
- Encourage students to design sun safety projects for science, art, and other exhibitions
- Students can serve as sun safety ambassadors for the community
- Students in scouts, 4-H, and other service clubs can address sun safety issues in their community activities
Click here to find out additional ways that schools can promote sun safety habits.
1Buller DB, Borland R. Health Edu Behav.1999 Jun;26(3):317-43.