Children’s health education programs start when they are very small, with health workers visiting mothers at home to make sure that that they are bringing up the baby to be a happy and healthy child. There are even health education programs specifically for young mothers or vulnerable women, who may struggle with the practical aspects of raising a child.
The baby’s weight, eyesight and hearing will be monitored and they will be given their immunisations – all before they have even set foot in a school.
Health education in schools
Health education in school takes two forms; first there are the everyday messages that are passed onto the children by staff, and secondly there are the special presentations and programs that are carried out by visitors to the school. The first category covers things like washing your hands after you go to the toilet or before lunch, not picking your nose and making sure you eat with a knife and fork. All basic things, but young children can forget these very easily or may never have been taught them at home in the first place.
Special presentations are held in schools throughout a child’s education. Some relate to things like road safety or not talking to strangers, while others focus on health education. For younger children this can be about properly brushing their teeth, while as they get older, the topics will change to cover things more suited to that age group; menstruation, smoking, alcohol, safe sex and drugs. These are subjects that a child should be taught about at school, but many parents find it embarrassing to talk to their child about sex, so many children would have no sex education at all if it weren’t for these school programs.
Some medical professionals decide to specialise in children’s healthcare. Paediatric doctors, nurses and dentists are not only experts in the type of medical conditions that they are likely to see in younger patients, but they also have a bedside manner that has been adapted for children. Paediatric dentists in particular do their best to try and make young patients feel relaxed in the dentist’s chair.
Many may make a visit to a local school to educate them about what a dentist does, or invite a parent to bring a particularly scared child into the office so that he or she can look around before their appointment. Oral health is very important throughout your adult life, so it is important that children get over any fear they have of the dentist’s chair as early as possible, and health education programs can help achieve this.