Way back when education began to be formalized, the powers that be were very concerned with the health of the student body. The first gym teachers were concerned with health issues. Phys Ed was focused on “spirit, mind, and body,” and there was not much sport skill instruction or movement education. Just before the recent education reform issues in most states, the Phys Ed teacher was certified in “Health & Physical Education.” Many of the teacher preparation institutions had a health department and a physical education department “joined at the hip.”
Today, there is a greater need than ever to deal with health issues. There’s drug resistance education, obesity, tooth decay, and food allergies, not to mention informing the children that candy is not one of the five food groups (in other words, teaching proper nutrition)… just to name a few. But I don’t believe children are receiving a proper education on many of these topics, and so I’d like to explore with you what I believe to be a wonderful resource.
For Kids, for Teens
Most of the topics are well covered, but what impressed me (beyond the basic information and how it was presented) was that each topic started with an interest-grabbing story. For example, here is the “What is ADHD?” introductory story:
There was a rumor at school: Thomas, the wiry guy with the curly hair, was, well,… a freak. When he wasn’t cooped up in his garage fussing with all sorts of wires and gadgets, he was in the principal’s office trying to get out of trouble. Either he didn’t finish his homework, blurted out answers without waiting for his turn, or got caught staring around the room at everybody else when he should have had his eyes glued to the blackboard.
It turns out that Thomas is very bright. It just so happens that he has ADHD. This article explains more about this disorder, including what it’s like for teens who have ADHD. There’s an explanation of what ADHD is, its signs and symptoms, what causes it, how it’s treated, and best of all, what to do if you or someone you know has ADHD.
Another excellent part of this Web site is that the opinions posted here are reviewed. In the case of the ADHD section, two Ph.D.s and an MD reviewed it.
Telling It Like It Is
Let me stop here to note that the KidsHealth site is quite straightforward and open. Topics include “All About Menstruation,” “Why My Breasts Are Sore,” and “Is My Penis Normal”! There is a section that deals with sexually transmitted diseases, vaginal yeast infection, condoms, and birth control. It may be more straightforward and open than your school administrators and parents will be comfortable with. At the very least, I’d suggest that you not allow students to access this site until you have run it by the administration.
Of course you can use this Web site as a resource for lesson plans or unit plans without having the students access the Web site itself. In that case, pre-approval by the administration may not be needed. But you’ll want to think seriously about some of the topics before introducing them into your curriculum.
As a really cool component of its service, KidsHealth offers a free sign-up for Express E-mail, which is weekly e-mail to let you know what new features are available on the Web site.