Selecting Curriculum

Classroom instruction is certainly a very important component of a school sun safety program.  A single intervention, such as a one-time school assembly, can be impressive but for maximum effectiveness children should receive age-appropriate sun safety instruction at every grade level.  Fortunately, excellent educational materials already exist which have been designed for use by classroom teachers in existing school programs.

Preschool through Kindergarten

The Child Care Sun Safety Education Package
Order Form (Word Document)

Created and distributed by the Skin Cancer Prevention Program of the California Department of Health Services, this package is provided free to California child care centers. Each package contains:

  • The California Early Childhood Sun Protection Curriculum
  • Hot Shots educational video
  • Alex the Alligator poster
  • Sun Protection Guidelines for Outdoor Play

Elementary School

Sunny Days Healthy Ways

The Sunny Days Healthy Ways (SDHW) curriculum was developed with the help of educators, design experts, and dermatologists. It's designed for use by classroom teachers, utilizing traditional teaching methods including lectures, hands-on activities, exercises and experiments. Intended to fulfill national, state and local educational standards, it can be incorporated into existing science, health or safety curricula. The curriculum for each grade level, K-5, is provided in Adobe Acrobat (.pdf) format on a single CD-ROM which also includes lesson plans, storybooks, and camera-ready student activity masters.

SDHW helps children learn the fundamental concepts which will both empower and encourage them to protect themselves from sun damage. We applaud the SDHW program for presenting sun safety issues in their proper order of importance:

  1. The beneficial and harmful effects of sunlight
  2. Sun avoidance techniques
  3. Sun-protective hats and cover-up clothing
  4. Sunscreen use

Also available from SDHW are interactive computer games for elementary school children which reinforce the formal curriculum.

Environmental Protection Agency

The United States EPA provides the SunWise program for grades K-8.  Schools are encouraged to apply for registration with the EPA as a SunWise Partner School and receive the free Tool Kit containing cross-curricular classroom lessons for activities to raise children's awareness of sun safety practices.

Sun Safety for Kids Educational Videos

In collaboration with the California Dept. of Health Services and with sponsorship from the US Environmental Protection Agency, Sun Safety for Kids has produced two new sun protection educational videos.  One is designed for students in Grades 1-3, and the other will target Grades 4-6.  Learn more about the videos here.

Middle School offers a new curriculum and student workbook for middle school students. We have evaluated an advance copy and find it to be equally excellent in quality compared to their Sunny Days Healthy Ways (SDHW) curriculum for elementary grades. Visit the  to request an advance (print version) copy of the curriculum and student workbook.

Project S.A.F.E.T.Y. (see below), which is ideal for high school students, recommends their curriculum for middle school as well.  Our evaluators felt that, due to this program=s strong emphasis on skin cancer with quite graphic depictions of real cases, it may be best suited for grades 8 and above.

High School

Project S.A.F.E.T.Y.

The University of Texas, M.D. Anderson Cancer Center, has produced an excellent  program for high school students which integrates well with Health or Science curricula.

The Curriculum has been upgraded for 2002 and is now provided in cutting edge CD format in which video clips and other special effects are incorporated with lecture material.  This allows for individual viewing at a computer or it can be shown to the entire class with the aid of a computer and multimedia projector.

The emphasis of Project SAFETY is on skin cancer, its cause and prevention.  Graphic clinical images of skin cancer afflicted patients were chosen to be intentionally shocking and to hold the attention of adolescents.   Young melanoma victims are interviewed and discuss the serious mistake they made in trying to tan their skin.  Skin biology and pathology are taught lecture-style with the aid of animation and special effects.  The main goal, to change students' attitudes about sun tanning, is effectively met.

The material is divided into three 50-minute lessons.  This relieves the classroom teacher of the necessity to present formal lectures.  However, the accompanying Teacher's Guide includes outlines, objectives, handout masters for easy duplication, a glossary, and optional activities for further teacher-moderated instruction.

Learn more about curriculum development. >>>



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