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Springfield School Teachers to Receive Curriculum Training Aimed at Making Kids More Health Literate

This Friday, around 200 Springfield teachers will attend a special training session for a new health curriculum provided by Mercy Health System as a gift.  This new curriculum is designed to get kids started on the road to good health literacy and habits at an early age.  KSMU’s Theresa Bettmann talked with a spokesperson for St. John’s and has more.

Health literacy, according to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, is a person’s ability to obtain, understand, and utilize basic health care information.  Many experts believe good health care habits should start early, and most school districts already offer some type of health curriculum.  St. John’s, part of the Sisters of Mercy Health Care system, has partnered with HealthTeacher, a health curriculum designed for both K-12 teachers and health educators. Cora Scott is a spokesperson for St. John’s and says the program covers many important issues.

 “It is a health literacy program that includes grade-appropriate online curriculum and classroom resources.  For a variety of topics that have a great range from bullying to controlling your blood sugar.  There’s health information teachers can make available to their students, and then [they have] the support behind making the curriculum available to students,” Scott says.

Scott says a unique thing about this curriculum is that it is not just for “health class.” She says it is designed to be incorporated into other subjects like math and science.

Scott says that Mercy has introduced this new curriculum in over 1,600 schools, reaching nearly 700,000 children in Missouri, Arkansas, Kansas and Oklahoma.  She adds that some Springfield elementary schools have already implemented the program.

 “The idea came about when we did community round tables.  In all of the communities where Mercy has services, and we did them here in Springfield as well, we asked what types of health services were needed. One thing that came through loud and clear, resounding, in all of our communities is ‘please help us educate our children about health’,” says Scott.

Scott says the HealthTeacher program is a $5 million dollar commitment on the part of Mercy Health systems, and is provided at no cost to the schools.  For KSMU News, I’m Theresa Bettmann.