Covering the Goulburn and Murray valleys

Echuca students are sunsmart students

Hats a part of every day wear for Echuca and district students.

KATHLEEN TONINI February 5, 2013 4:41am

St Mary’s Primary School students Zeb Shellew and Phoebe Thomas in their hats

Primary school children have been conditioned to know the importance of wearing a hat outside, according to a district principal.

St Mary’s Primary School principal Brendan Atley believes most children starting school are ‘‘well-drilled’’ about wearing a hat when outside.

‘‘We’re reaping the benefits of a shift in attitudes about wearing a hat,’’ he said.

St Mary’s students must wear broad-brimmed school hats when outside and Mr Atley said modelling and enforcing sunsmart policies was ‘‘very much’’ part of teachers’ roles.

The school has many shaded areas outside and has recently had more shade clothes installed.

Mr Atley said while hats were compulsory in terms one and four, there was discretion to require hats in other terms when needed.

A recent SunSmart survey has shown Victorian school children have the best sun protection in Australia.

SunSmart manager Jen Makin said 90 per cent of Victorian primary schools took part in the SunSmart program, which was higher than other states.

‘‘The majority of primary schools surveyed reported having a written sun protection policy and 85 per cent said that sun protection was incorporated into the curriculum at all year levels,’’ she said.

Despite Victoria’s good results, Ms Makin said Victorian schools were less likely than other states to have enough shade for active and passive activities.

She said about three in four Victorian schools indicated they had increased their level of shade in the last three years and about half reported an intention to increase shade in the next three years.

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