Schools and Early Childhood Centres
Students are in school when ultraviolet (UV) radiation levels are at their peak. Schools are uniquely placed to provide a sunsafe environment, educate students about sun protection behaviour and reduce the risk of skin cancer by becoming SunSmart.
Schools can help reduce harmful UV radiation exposure through policy, education and role modelling.
Schools should be SunSmart from September to April (Terms 1 and 4), especially between 10am and 4pm.
Examples of policies can be found on the right of this page.
The SunSmart Schools programme acknowledges Primary and Intermediate Schools that have a sun protection policy in place which meets the Cancer Society’s minimum criteria.
To be an accredited SunSmart School their policy includes:
- Behaviour - use of sunhats, clothing, broad spectrum SPF 30 sunscreen
- Environment – providing shade and encouraging its use
- Curriculum – educating students about sun protection and skin cancer prevention
- Review – the School’s policy is reviewed at least 3 yearly
Accreditation ensures a School is providing a sun safe learning environment for its Year 1 -8 students, and equips them with the knowledge to be SunSmart.
It is important to regularly review sun protection policies and practices in both schools that are enrolled in the programme and those that are not. In 2017 researchers from the Cancer Society Social and Behavioural Research Unit at the University of Otago surveyed schools on behalf of the Cancer Society. In total, 1243 schools participated.
The survey covered provision of shade, use of sun protective practices (hats, clothing, sunscreen) and whether schools had a written sun protection policy. Here is a link to an overview of key results from this report.
For more information and to become a SunSmart School visit the SunSmart Schools website
It is important that early childhood services are SunSmart during the months of September to April, especially between 10am and 4pm. Early childhood services can help reduce harmful UV radiation exposure through policy, education and role modelling.
Professional development module for early childhood educators.
It is important that secondary schools are SunSmart during the months of September to April, especially between 10am and 4pm. Schools can help reduce harmful UV radiation exposure among staff and students through policy, education and role modelling.
Last Updated: Monday 20 April, 2015