Poor movement, unhealthy foods, hectic eating behavior, obesity, overstimulation due to media, allergies, asthma, etc., affect health from an early childhood age. In addition, psychosocial burdens are often added – due to the loss of stable relationships in the event of separation and divorce, frequent relocations, excessive expectations of parents’ performance, discrimination as foreigners, etc., which have a negative effect on their psyche even in young children. This is why the promotion of physical and mental health by day care centers is of great importance. Physical and mental-emotional-social well-being are mutually dependent in humans. This holistic approach is an essential prerequisite for the success of health education.
Health education cannot be limited to specific activities, but are part of everyday life in the day care center. They cover the areas of nutrition, exercise, mental health, accident prevention and safety education, hygiene, disease prevention and addiction prevention. In order to achieve long-term desired attitudes, values and behaviors, learning through active action and learning in exemplary behavior play a decisive role. The introduction to a health-conscious behavior is to be understood as a life support.
Basic knowledge about your own body and the psyche
Appropriate educational opportunities provide information about one’s own body, illnesses and injuries in day care facilities. At the same time, children should recognize how “vulnerable” – in the broadest sense – people are.
The children get to know the name and function of the limbs, sensory organs and internal organs. Their understanding of simple connections such as between eye and vision, between food intake and digestion, between the heart/lungs and the blood stream, between fatigue and sleep is to be encouraged. Basic knowledge of sex education is also taught.
The children should know the structure and function of the denture, know about the tooth change, and be informed about the formation of paradontosis and tooth decay. They learn what the most important diseases and disabilities are, how they arise and how they are treated. Other important issues are prevention, contagion, behavior in communicable diseases, hygiene, etc.
Contributing to the health of the body
Educators make sure that children regularly move in a variety of activities. This is how muscles and circulation are trained. In addition, special exercise and sports activities can be made. The children are also encouraged to walk properly, to stand and to sit. Care must be taken to ensure that they wear clothes that do not restrict their ability to move and that the shoes fit. In this way, posture and foot damage can be prevented.
Adequate ventilation of the rooms in the day care facility must be ensured. Children should stay outside as often as possible – even in bad weather. In the context of appropriate activities, they are confronted with stimuli such as cold or wetness, which contribute to the hardening and strengthening of the immune system – avoiding exaggerations. In case of strong sunlight, sun protection measures must be ensured.
Since addiction-promoting properties or deficits often arise in early childhood, addiction prevention is an important task of day care facilities. In particular, behavioral patterns must be prevented in which children react to frustrations, boredom, individual problems or stress with substitute satisfactions such as eating sweets or media consumption. Children should therefore learn, for example, how to engage themselves (training of interests, hobbies, etc.), how to involve others in their own activities and thus make them more attractive, or how to solve individual problems with the help of others. Strengthening tolerance of frustration, independence, social competence and capacity for conflict is of great importance.
Health education requires a great deal of expertise and expertise. Cooperation with doctors, health office, youth welfare office, municipal accident insurance association, facilities for the disabled, etc. is therefore sensible and necessary.