Introduction to the SunSmart America™ Curriculum
Welcome to the new SunSmart America™ K-12 Curriculum. These resources promote the SunSmart America™ message and provide teachers with information and a range of classroom activities on skin cancer and sun protection. These materials were developed with the help of The Cancer Council in Australia, Palm Beach County School District Teachers and Curriculum Specialists and the Medical Education Committee of the Richard David Kann Melanoma Foundation. This resource is available to teachers and schools throughout the country.
The SunSmart America™ K-5th grade resource offers primary teachers ready made curriculum lessons and activities to base sun protection learning experiences. This resource is cross-curricular, interactive and FUN!!! A study conducted by the Melanoma Foundation and the University of Miami found that the SunSmart Elementary School Curriculum increases students knowledge as well as changes their behavior toward sun safety.
Middle School & High School
The SunSmart America™ Middle & High School resources promote the SunSmart message and provides teachers with information and a range of classroom activities on skin cancer and sun protection. The educational information is arranged in five cross-curricular topics. Each topic contains a SunSmart Education Lesson, Pre & Post tests and several activities.
These resources are recommended for Physical Education, Health, Science and English Teachers.
These resources are benchmarked to meet FCAT Standards.
History of SunSmart America™
In 1998, the Foundation bought the rights to the Australian SunSmart program and adapted it to educational standards in the United States. The curriculum, called SunSmart America™ consisted of age-appropriate lessons for grades K-12 and is widely used in the Palm Beach County School District and in School Districts across South Florida.
In 2003, the Foundation was awarded a grant from the Health Foundation of South Florida to begin a sun safety program in the Monroe County School District, educating the residents of the Florida Keys. In 2004, the Foundation in collaboration with the University of Miami, received a grant from the National Institutes of Health for $1.5 million to study the effectiveness of the Foundation’s award-winning SunSmart America™ Elementary School Curriculum.
Over the years, the Foundation has received many accolades and awards for its curriculum and programs. Just to name a few, the Foundation is an eleven-time winner of the American Academy of Dermatology’s Gold Triangle Award. The Melanoma Foundation has also been featured in several news articles and medical journals for its work in the area of raising sun protection and early detection awareness.
The Melanoma Foundation’s staff has provided more than 1,500 presentations in public and private schools reaching over 75,000 students and more than 5,000 teachers and administrators. In addition, the Foundation has conducted presentations for community groups and businesses in South Florida reaching over 150,000 residents.
In 2009, The Foundation’s staff, Board of Directors and Palm Beach County School District Curriculum Specialists revised and updated the SunSmart America™ Curriculum to include up-to-date medical and scientific information.
SunSmart America™ has been adapted from a very successful program developed by the Anti-Cancer Council of Victoria, Australia. Australia has one of the highest incidences of skin cancer in the world. Through a decade-long public health, and education campaign in that region, an 11% decrease in the incidence rate of skin cancer has been realized. The success of the Anti-Cancer Council program has been recognized world-wide.
An Important Message to Educators
We all are aware of the multitude of factors that draw our youth to take part in potentially dangerous behaviors. Unhealthy peers pressures, lack of accurate information, and strong advertising, and media influences. All combine to contribute to poor decision-making. We can make a difference by giving our students the knowledge, and skills necessary to make healthy choices, now and throughout their lives.
The Palm Beach County School District and the Richard David Kann Melanoma Foundation are presently working to make sun safety education constant, and systematic. Eventually reaching students beginning in Kindergarten, and moving up through all grade levels. The decision to begin sun safety education at the school level was based on the fact that skin damage begins to surface among youth in this age range. Lives may be saved by teaching students, prevention and early detection techniques that they can use now and always. SUNSMART AMERICA™ instruction is easily integrated into most subject areas, through lessons that have been developed by a team of science teachers from the Palm Beach County School District. Science, Health and Biology classes, in particular, have been specifically selected to integrate sun safety education into lesson plans on account of the parallel content.