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Saturday, February 27, 2021

Sun-savvy students in a class of their own

Sun-savvy school students are being asked to design a winning shady space for learning this spring in a bid to reduce rates of skin cancer in future generations.

Using a set of new interactive classroom resources, NSW teachers will educate primary and secondary school students in the dangers of spending too much time in the sun, while encouraging a chance to win prizes for their suggestions.

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 while encouraging them to make healthy, safe, and proactive choices to reduce their risk of skin cancer.

Cancer Institute NSW Chief Executive, Professor David Currow, said it was important for children and young people to learn about the risks associated with sun exposure early so they could create good habits as they moved 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,” he said.

“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,” he said.

“It starts with practising sun-safe behaviours at school.”

The evidence-based resources 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, Murat Dizdar, said teachers played a crucial role in instilling health and wellbeing among students.

“Teachers can inspire the next generation of Aussie kids to protect their skin from the harmful effects of the sun,” he said.

“We want NSW students to be active and conscious participants in making decisions that safeguard their health.”

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 encourages students to design fun, functional and innovative spaces that provide essential shade for their school and community, with prizes awarded to the best entries.

Go to Cancer Institute NSW’s website for more information.

Entries close Friday 23 October and winners announced Monday 16 November during National Skin Cancer Action Week 2020.

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