Education for health, which is an investment in human resources, ought to be introduced in the life of a child as early as possible. It is the preschool that, as the first institution performing organized socializing-educational actions, may become the best place for the stimulation of education for health. This arises from the many facilities in the didactic-educational process, such as time and range of impact on children in preschool age. They spend many hours daily in preschool and it is there that they acquire basic information and abilities which are necessary to naturally strengthen the health: in relation to meals, hygienic procedures, fun, relaxation. This type of education uses the environmental resources of the preschools, such as: space management, equipment or the surroundings of the preschool as well as material resources, such as toys and human resources, such as qualified staff, aid institutions, local community and the parents.
Education for health in preschool age
Health education basically constitutes knowledge, but also conviction, behaviour, ways and styles of life, which aim at keeping the good health by changing the way of thinking about the health on a certain level. It is the reason why there is a change in lifestyles, a change of negative behaviours into positive ones. It also keeps remaining only within the atmosphere of positive lifestyles. It constitutes the kind of action which causes the healthy choice to give rise to further decisions about the health and its protection [1, 2007, p.17; 1999, p. 183; 2002, pp.115-131].
Education for health must be recognized as a complex and mature attitude towards health, which primarily includes:
- “a reasonable and emotionally static approach to illness, disability and death,
- an awareness of co-responsibility for public health and responsibility for own health,
- decisiveness and the ability to help others” [2, p. 596].
It must, therefore, be stated that education for health is conscious co-creation of premises which are conducive to health and active participation in educational work that will shape the proper attitudes and behaviours – or the formation of health culture.
The main aim of education for health and promotion of health in preschool is to indicate to the children health as a value and a potential which they have as well as the formation of a sense of credibility for own and others’ health. Agility and motor competence, health care, shaping the correct posture, care for harmonic physical development and the formation of hygienic and health habits are a characteristic exercise of health education in preschool as well as in the family – the most important educational environment [3, 2014, pp. 241-245; 2014, pp. 329-364]. It must be remembered that the child’s body is the starting point and the cardinal target is the development of the full personality of a person. This means that it is appropriate to emphasize the educational aspects and show the children the heterogenic advantages to be found in physical activity and caring for own and other people’s health [4, 2001, p. 28; 2012, pp. 521-527].
One thing to remember is that the choices made by an individual are determined by his or her potentials which arise from the social-economic situation and the assortment of own behavioural patterns that the individual has to choose from within the frames of a given society [5, p.204].
The author asked each six-year-old a question and noted their answers on the questionnaire sheet. Thus, 50 children were surveyed.
Among the surveyed children, 35 admitted that they enjoyed eating raw fruit several times a day. 10 children do it once a day. 3 children do not eat fruit at all and 2 declared that they did not like fruit. This concludes that most children prefer healthy food.
Raw vegetables enjoy much less popularity among the children. 25 of the surveyed children admitted eating them a few times a day. Another 10 claimed that they did so once a day. 8 preschoolers do not eat any vegetables and 7 admitted that they did not like fresh vegetables.
The children were also asked if they remembered to wash fruit and vegetables before eating. 41 of the surveyed always do so, 6 do it sometimes. 2 preschoolers do not do that at all and 1 stated that he did not know. The children are taught to wash fruit and vegetables from the earliest years. They realize the consequences of not washing fresh fruit and vegetables.
Children in preschool ages very much enjoy spending time outside, in the fresh air. 39 of the surveyed admitted that. Only 6 of them said that they did not enjoying staying outside and 5 did not have an opinion in this matter. The period of preschool ought to serve the purpose of forming active attitudes with regard to health and safety, creating hygienic and health habits as well as developing physical fitness. The child will gain autonomy only when they are not replaced by others in their functioning, but only stimulated and encouraged.
The time which the children spend outside is conducive to their health. Moving and gymnastics are favourite activities for 33 of the surveyed children. This kind of activity is not enjoyed by 7 respondents and as many as 5 could not give a definite opinion in this aspect. Movement supports good health in children.
30 of the surveyed children enjoy classes about health and healthy lifestyle. 5 preschoolers were of the opposite opinion Another 15 gave the “do not know” answer.
This kind of activities constitute a source of knowledge about healthy nutrition, movement in the open air and active forms of recreation.
The children were also asked whether they always brushed their teeth after a meal. Out of all the surveyed, 42 did it every time, and 6 children admitted that they only sometimes did it. Brushing the teeth is the basis of correct hygiene of the mouth.
As for washing their hands before a meal, 34 children stated that they always did so. Another 11 sometimes did it, 1 claimed that he never washed his hands before eating and 4 did not give their opinions.
To conclude, it must be stated that children in preschools are gradually introduced to the healthy life style. Education for health is realized on the basis of the syllabus basics and a special curriculum written by the preschool teachers.
Modelling healthy attitudes in the early stage of the child’s life gains a special meaning which is substantive from the point of view of the formation of health awareness and general care for the development of health capabilities in a person.
After conducting the research, it must be noted that children in preschools are introduced to health behaviours by taking active part in the health education classes and activities.
The preschoolers show correct hygienic, health and nutrition habits; they prefer active forms of spending their free time.
Every teacher faces a personal choice of the educational way as it is not possible to impose the one and only theory. It is worth making endeavour towards new quality of work in the field of education for health by learning about educational innovations and by using the suggestions for preventive measures towards children of preschool ages [6, 2013, p.58].
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- Kościńska E., Zachowania antyzdrowotne podejmowane przez seniorów, „Acta Pomerania” nr 1/ 2008.
- Ciupińska B., Uwarunkowania konfliktów w środowisku szkolnym, [in:] K. Denek, A. Kamińska, P. Oleśniewicz (ed.), Edukacja jutra. Uwarunkowania współczesnej szkoły, Sosnowiec 2013.[schema type=»book» name=»SELECTED ISSUES OF HEALTH EDUCATION IN PRESCHOOL CHILDREN» description=»Health behaviours are formed in the process of socialization and affected by many different factors from the early years of childhood. Social health conditions are the influences of the factors which arise from the impact of culture and functions of particular social groups. An enormous role is played here by health education from the earliest years of life. The aim of this study is to present the issue of health education in preschool children.» author=»Daria Sikorska» publisher=»БАСАРАНОВИЧ ЕКАТЕРИНА» pubdate=»2017-03-17″ edition=»ЕВРАЗИЙСКИЙ СОЮЗ УЧЕНЫХ_30.05.2015_05(14)» ebook=»yes» ]