Primary Health Education

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Primary Health Education, written by Beverley Young and Susan Durston, was published by Longman in 1987. It was intended for primary teachers particularly for use in teacher education to support education in matters related to health. Beverley Young had considerable experience of working in developing countries and witnessing the difficulties of educating students who are in poor health and often suffering disabilities arising from the effects of prolonged malnutrition. The book, although relevant also to developed countries, addresses issues that arise particularly in countries where many children are poorly nourished and where primary education may be the only education that children experience. It is illustrated by black and white photographs and drawings which show children in developing countries, emphasising the context in which the book was most needed. In recognition that many of its readers will not speak English as their first or second language, the language of the book is kept as simple as possible and a glossary of terms is provided at the end of the book.

[b]Aims and objectives[/b]
The aim of the book is to help teachers to give special attention to health education as part of the primary school curriculum. It provides information about the human body and what is needed to keep it healthy, with teaching suggestions for how to engage students in their own health and welfare.

The book is in two parts. The chapters in part one concern the biology of the human body and what is needed to keep it healthy, with particular attention to food, cleanliness, dealing with common diseases, safety and avoiding habits such as smoking and drinking alcohol. Each chapter has sections on background knowledge and teaching suggestions. Part two discusses teaching methods, encouraging teachers to involve students in discussions rather than merely telling them facts. Examples of games and songs are included and instructions for making teaching aids. An approach that is used throughout the book is derived from the child-to-child programme which began as a programme of the International Year of the Child in 1979. Applied to health education, it means that students in school are encouraged by the teachers to use their knowledge to help younger siblings and pass on information that will help improve the health and safety of the whole family.

It was recognised in the 1970s and 1980s that as well as improving literacy in developing countries, schools have an important role in improving the health of individuals and communities. The education of girls was seen as particularly important in this endeavour and one of the features of this book is that it chooses examples that are likely to be of interest and relevance to girls.

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