There is an inseparable intertwinement between health and education, which underlines the need to promote students’ health and wellbeing. Schools need to take a comprehensive approach to school health education, whose success depends on collaborative efforts among governments, communities, agencies, and families. School health education is important because it can help promote safety and positive health behaviors, prevents injuries, disorders, and diseases, promotes health and wellness, and prevents high-risk social behavior. Such a program enables school-aged children to grow into productive citizens by embracing and practicing health-enhancing behaviors and attitudes throughout their life as Meeks et al. (2020) emphasize in their book. Therefore, school health education is important as it helps address the pressing health concerns that youth and children face, enabling them to become productive adults.
School-aged children have a number of health concerns that a school health education curriculum can help address. These issues include risky sexual behaviors, inappropriate eating patterns, lack of physical activity, and drug use and abuse. Meeks et al. (2020) have identified these factors as the leading causes of morbidity and mortality among children and youth. Most children, especially in middle school, engage in risky sexual behaviors, exposing them to sexually transmitted infections (STIs) and Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) and increasing their unwanted teen pregnancies’ risks that adversely affect them. Therefore, these inter-related yet preventable issues are the main concerns among school-aged children, and school health education can help address them.
My personal belief about the school health education’s purpose is that it needs to motivate and enlighten youth and children to prevent disease, improve health, and avoid health-related high-risk behaviors. In such a program, social, physical, emotional, and mental health dimensions must be addressed and given the attention they deserve. The potential risks and appropriate areas for developmental stages must be given priority. The other important areas to be included in the school health education program are the ones the Department of Education has identified as the leading causes of mortality and morbidity among youth and children. They include unhealthy eating patterns, lack of physical activity, accidental and deliberate injuries, tobacco use and alcohol, drug use and abuse, and risky sexual behaviors (Meeks et al., 2020). Since these habits are usually recognizable during childhood, a school health education program must address them in order to prevent their adverse effect on children’s and youth’s academic achievement and health. Therefore, my philosophy on the school health education’s purpose is to address these behaviors to promote children’s and youth’s health and wellbeing, which will enable them to become productive citizens later in their lives.
Schools’ health educators have a significant role in ensuring a school health education curriculum achieves its objectives by implementing the Whole School, Whole Community, Whole Child (WSCC) model. The first one is starting and leading discussions among students about the most pertinent pressing issues relating to their health, and this needs to be done in collaboration with the rest of the school’s stakeholders. These teachers also need to maintain and update students’ health records and cooperate with the school’s staff and administration to conduct immunizations. Additionally, the educators need to be resource persons when it comes to controlling diseases and promoting student health in the school. Moreover, the school health educator is the link between the school and the community, and he or she should lead the collaborative efforts aimed at addressing the top health concerns among school-aged children. Therefore, the school administration needs to ensure their health educator is qualified and has the charisma pertaining to that position.
Since school health education programs are an important way of addressing major social and health problems among children, they need to be structured well to ensure they meet the desired goals. An effective curriculum needs to focus on priority behaviors affecting learning and health to handle them before they can go out of control. Another characteristic of an effective school health education curriculum is that it allows for collaboration and coordination among learners, the school, the community, and the family. It should also offer multiple interventions to identify top health concerns, including therapy, diet control, guidance and counseling, and rehabilitation.
The school environment should promote health among children because I believe schools are responsible for addressing their students’ emotional, mental, nutrition, and social needs. Teachers need to be role models to their students by upholding high standards of health so that their learners can emulate them. Schools need to provide a variety of physical activities for children to choose from, and the diet needs to be regulated in such a way that students are prevented from obesity and other lifestyle-related conditions.
There should be a coordinated approach to school health, and school educators need to be updated on emerging issues and technology to help keep the school informed on the best practices to promote health. One important aspect to emphasize is cultural awareness, and schools must foster this skill in the classrooms. Schools can improve student health by implementing wellness policies and making nutrition education a compulsory class to help address top health concerns. Therefore, the above description is my philosophy of school health education to help children grow into productive citizens.
Meeks, L., Heit, P., Page, R., & Ward, P. (2020). Comprehensive school health education: Totally awesome strategies for teaching health (9th ed.). McGraw Hill.