NSW introduces skin cancer prevention to school curriculum - Education Matters Magazine
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NSW introduces skin cancer prevention to school curriculum

School teachers in NSW can now harness a new suite of interactive skin cancer prevention resources to help educate primary and secondary school students about the dangers of spending too much time in the sun.

The Sun and UV at School classroom resources, the first of their kind in the country, were developed by the Cancer Institute NSW in partnership with the NSW Department of Education and other education and health sector organisations including SunSmart.

They provide students with the latest information on sun protection in a contemporary and engaging way and assist them to make healthy, safe, and proactive choices to reduce their risk of skin cancer.

Chief Cancer Officer and CEO of the Cancer Institute NSW, Professor David Currow, said it is important for children and young people to learn about the risks associated with sun exposure early so they can create good habits as they move through life.

“Australia has one of the highest rates of skin cancer in the world and melanoma is the most common cancer affecting young Australians aged 15-24. We want students to learn about the dangers of sun exposure, but we also want them to know how easy skin cancer is to prevent. It starts with practising sun-safe behaviours at school,” he said.

The evidence-based resources are aligned to the objectives, content, skills, and outcomes of the NSW PDHPE and Science K-10 syllabuses and are flexible and easy for teachers to use. They include grab-and-go activities, complete units of work, individual lessons, animations, infographics and links to data repositories.

NSW Department of Education Deputy Secretary, School Performance, Murat Dizdar said the teachers play a crucial role in instilling health and wellbeing as a priority among students.

“Teachers can inspire the next generation of Aussie kids to protect their skin from the harmful effects of the sun. We want NSW students to be active and conscious participants in making decisions that safeguard their health and for that reason, the NSW Department of Education is proud to support this initiative,” Mr Dizdar said.

As part of the Sun and UV at School initiative, the Cancer Institute NSW has also today launched a state-wide Sun and UV at School Challenge for NSW primary and secondary schools.

The challenge draws on the problem-solving elements found within the new resources and aligned syllabusand encourages students to design fun, functional and innovative spaces that provide essential shade for their school and community.

Prizes for students and their school are up for grabs, with entries open until Friday 23 October. Winners will be announced on Monday 16 November during National Skin Cancer Action Week 2020.

Since 1 July 2015 alone, the NSW Government, through the Cancer Institute NSW, has invested more than $7.3 million on public awareness and education campaigns for skin cancer prevention, and awarded more than $990,000 to local community and health organisations to promote skin cancer prevention awareness through community engagement and sponsorships.

Teachers can download the new Sun and UV at School resources from today and find out more about the School Challenge at www.cancer.nsw.gov.au/sun-school