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School board considers wider health ed plan

July 31, 1997

By DAVE McMILLION

Staff Writer

A new health education curriculum being considered for Washington County elementary students would cover more than nutrition and the make-up of the body.

It also would help youngsters deal with feelings, making friends, and learning problem-solving skills.

In addition to physical health, school officials feel it is important to stress good mental health, especially considering the types of social situations young people face these days, said Eugene "Yogi" Martin, supervisor of health education for the board of education.

Although Martin said he has not reviewed all the components of the course, students would work in groups to discuss problems they might be having with relationships.

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An example would be dealing with a student who has hurt the feelings of another student, Martin said. Students would take the role of the child that hurt the person's feelings, which hopefully would help students learn how the problem occurred, Martin said.

The role-playing sessions are necessary because adults cannot always remedy the problem, said Martin. "They have to sort of work it out," said Martin.

The course deals with practically every imaginable subject relating to health, including traffic safety, poison safety, disease prevention, bus safety, illegal drugs, nicotine, wellness, pollution, fatigue, radon and infections, according to Martin.

Some of the subject areas have been in the current health curriculum, but not to this degree, Martin said.

"We think it's probably one of the most comprehensive programs we'll have," Martin said.

Boonsboro Elementary School teacher Bob Kann said he likes the course because there are detailed instructions about how it is to be delivered to students. That is an advantage given the large number of new curriculums being introduced in county schools.

"It was very teacher-friendly," Kann said.

The program, for grades kindergarten through fifth grade, is called the "Michigan Model."

The public can review materials for the course until Aug. 15 at the school board office on Commonwealth Avenue, Martin said.

After the public review period, the Michigan Model is expected to be presented to the Washington County Board of Education for consideration, Martin said.

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