Is primary school too early to be thinking about alcohol education?
We don't think so. Research shows that to give a child the best start in life, education around alcohol and other drugs should start in early childhood and continue through the primary and secondary years. School-based alcohol education is particularly effective when it's backed up by parents and carers at home.
So, beyond classroom education, what can primary schools do to take action on alcohol?
Here are two ways for schools to improve alcohol education.
1. Create an alcohol-free school environment to set healthy examples for children
This means making sure alcohol is not available at any school events that children attend, including school discos, concerts, fetes, quiz nights, family picnics and milestone celebrations. Showing children that alcohol is not needed to have fun is powerful.
2. Find healthy alternatives to alcohol as a fundraiser
There are lots of creative incentives and prizes for school raffles that will also help promote healthy habits to children and complement nutrition and health messages taught in the classroom. Similarly, encouraging parents to choose alternatives to alcohol when providing gifts to teachers and other school staff would further help model healthy behaviour. Try fresh fruit, gardening gear, sports equipment or even cooking classes as something a bit off-the-beaten-track. These gifts are also much more inclusive; many people avoid alcohol for a range of personal and cultural reasons.
For more information
- For high quality resources for teachers and parents, as well as professional learning opportunities, have a look at Challenges and Choices by the Department of Education.
- If you are interested in taking action on alcohol within your school environment, our Alcohol Programs Team would love to hear from you. Please contact them at firstname.lastname@example.org.