Health Education: Building Knowledge and Skills for a Healthy Life
By Nora Howley, Manager of Programs, NEA-Health Information Network
It is hard not to turn on the television, flip through the paper, or open the news app on your smart phone without coming across concerns about the health of children around everything from obesity (one third of children are overweight or obese) to prescription drug misuse (almost 21% of high school students report they have taken a prescription drug without a doctor’s script).
Schools can do a number of things to address these concerns. They can provide healthier food, offer more opportunities for physical activity, and create community events to help parents better understand the risks associated with prescription drug misuse and abuse. But regardless of the health problem, one of the most important things that schools can undertake is to have a strong, standards-based health education program.
Health education is a curricular area with voluntary national standards (to which most states align their standards) and a robust system of curricular alignment and assessment tools. The health education standards address both knowledge and skills. Many of the skills taught in health education classes also align well with the Common Core State Standards in English Language Arts and Mathematics.
In our work with NEA members, we have found that teachers are looking for health education teaching materials that can help them address key health problems and build skills for healthy choices. They have also told us that they need materials that:
- Align to standards
- Build skills and knowledge
- Have clear and easy to follow instructions
- Are free or low cost
The Rx for Understanding series consists of lessons for grades 5-8 and 9-12. Each set includes background information, lesson plans, teaching resources, parent information, and national academic standards alignment charts. They can be ordered for free or downloaded from our website.
Healthy Steps for Healthy Lives offers resources for grades K-3 and 3-6 around the themes of THINK Healthy, EAT Healthy and MOVE Healthy. Again, each set includes background information, lesson plans, teaching resources, parent information, and national academic standards alignment charts, as well as a set of food cards and a MyPlate poster.
All of these materials are designed to be used across the curriculum, and they can be used as part of a larger program or by themselves. Teachers can decide the best way to implement. We hope to hear from you about how you are helping students learn to make healthy choices.
Click here to browse dozens of Public School Insights interviews with extraordinary education advocates, including:
- Actress/Mathematician Danica McKellar on girls and math
- Best Selling Author Kenneth C. Davis on engaging with history
- Nurse Practitioner Jennifer Danielson on providing health care at school
The views expressed in this website's interviews do not necessarily represent those of the Learning First Alliance or its members.
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