Early childhood centres supply sunscreen to their students. That’s fantastic! Children are monitored and ensure that at least 2-3 times a day sunscreen is reapplied before children head outside for the many hands on activities that are provided. Children at this age are even encouraged to take responsibility for putting their own sunscreen on – Under the supervision of one of the teachers of course! The ramifications of a child heading out “unblocked up” would be quite horrendous – not only in possible sunburn but also in accountability of the centre for not keeping a child safe.
Primary Schools on the other hand appear not to have a steadfast policy on sunscreen. Why is that we wonder? Surely its just as important to have sunscreen available to students through primary school and even secondary school? Shade sails and hats are everywhere – much like Early Childhood Centres – who also provide sunscreen. Why is deemed acceptable for children under 5 to be “slip slop slapped” regularly and not older children? In fact – could we possibly be sending a wrong message to our kids? It’s ingrained into them in their Early Learning Years to apply sunscreen regularly – and in some cases it’s not even mentioned further up the school ladder.
It’s not about having the school ( through the classroom teacher ) being responsible for making sure every student has applied sunscreen before they go outside for their morning tea or lunch. Teachers have enough to do. It’s about making sunscreen available visibly in every room or POD or how ever the school is set up, so students know that the sunscreen is available for them to use. After all they have been taught the best practice at their Early Learning Centre, so this just reinforces what they have already learnt. Its not a biggy to install – all it takes is a bracket and a Pump unit of sunscreen with a simple little sign by a key “traffic” area and voila – sunscreen is readily available to students – who at their discretion can reapply where and when they see fit.
Think about what your children wear to school during the summer months .. – shorts that finish above the knee, and T shirts that sit just below the arm pit …. that’s stock standard. So, how does a hat protect the rest of the uncovered area?