Health Education Toolkit

A message from our health educators:

Welcome to the Snohomish County Health Education Toolkit! This is designed to support educators in delivering engaging and effective health classes.

Health education plays a critical role in nurturing students' physical, mental, emotional, and social well-being during formative years. As educators, you are vital in shaping students' attitudes and behaviors towards health and wellness. 

Designed for middle school and older, this toolkit aims to equip you with the knowledge and resources needed to facilitate meaningful discussions, encourage healthy habits, and empower students to make informed decisions. We hope this toolkit becomes a valuable companion in your journey to promote a holistic approach to health education in the classroom and create a positive and impactful learning experience for your students.

To learn more about effective prevention strategies and tools for youth in general, read this document from the Washington State Healthcare Authority: Prevention Tools--What Works and What Doesn't.

HOW TO USE THIS TOOLKIT

  1. Exploring the Topics: The toolkit is divided into 6 topics: Wellness, Substance Use, Social and Emotional Health, Nutrition, Safety, and Sexual Health. Each unit contains lesson plans, activity ideas, discussion prompts, and more.
  2. Selecting Appropriate Resources: Choose resources that align with your curriculum and students' needs, interests, and readiness. The toolkit offers a range of materials suitable for diverse learning styles and abilities.
  3. Adapting to Your Classroom: Feel free to adapt the provided materials to suit your classroom dynamics and individual student needs. Add your personal touch to make lessons more relatable and engaging.
  4. Engaging Students: Utilize interactive activities, group discussions, role-plays, and real-life scenarios to actively involve students in their learning journey.
  5. Promoting Inclusivity: Consider the diverse backgrounds and experiences of your students when delivering health education. Foster a safe and inclusive space where all students feel valued and respected.
  6. Encouraging Collaboration: Share this resource guide with your fellow educators, health professionals, and parents to foster a collaborative approach to promoting health and wellness.

Click the topic buttons below to navigate the toolkit

Wellness
Nutrition
Social and Emotional Health
Safety
Substance Use
Sexual Health
Resources

CDC Healthy Schools

Quality health education starts with a quality curriculum and student learning standards. This health education toolkit was created following:

Health education, including sexual health, should:
Provide health information that is accurate, appropriate, and directly contributes to health-promoting decisions and behaviors.
Ensure all youth are provided with opportunities to build skills needed to protect themselves and others from HIV and other STDs, and unintended pregnancy.
Address the needs of youth that are not having sex as well as youth who are currently sexually active.
Consistently include topics and gender identities that are culturally relevant and affirming for LGBTQ+ and other youth.
Align with adolescent health data, that are relevant to school policies and practices, and community priorities and values.
Use direct, active involvement from students, parents, and community partners. 

From CDC's Characteristics of an Effective Health Education Curriculum:

Today’s state-of-the-art health education curricula reflect the growing body of research that emphasizes:

  • Teaching functional health information (essential knowledge).
  • Shaping personal values and beliefs that support healthy behaviors.
  • Shaping group norms that value a healthy lifestyle.
  • Developing the essential health skills necessary to adopt, practice, and maintain health-enhancing behaviors.

An effective health education curriculum has the following characteristics, according to reviews of effective programs and curricula and experts in the field of health education:

  1. Focuses on clear health goals and related behavioral outcomes.
  2. Is research-based and theory-driven.
  3. Addresses individual values, attitudes, and beliefs.
  4. Addresses individual and group norms that support health-enhancing behaviors.
  5. Focuses on reinforcing protective factors and increasing perceptions of personal risk and harmfulness of engaging in specific unhealthy practices and behaviors.
  6. Addresses social pressures and influences.
  7. Builds personal competence, social competence, and self efficacy by addressing skills.
  8. Provides functional health knowledge that is basic, accurate, and directly contributes to health-promoting decisions and behaviors.
  9. Uses strategies designed to personalize information and engage students.
  10. Provides age-appropriate and developmentally-appropriate information, learning strategies, teaching methods, and materials.
  11. Incorporates learning strategies, teaching methods, and materials that are culturally inclusive.
  12. Provides adequate time for instruction and learning.
  13. Provides opportunities to reinforce skills and positive health behaviors.
  14. Provides opportunities to make positive connections with influential others.
  15. Includes teacher information and plans for professional development and training that enhance effectiveness of instruction and student learning.