Introduction As young children become aware of their body parts and start to understand
how the parts work individually and together, they can begin to appreciate
and accept responsibility for their bodies and their health. Though parents,
caregivers, and other adults are primarily responsible for children’s health
and safety, young children can begin to nurture lifelong habits that will greatly
affect their quality of life. This curriculum introduces positive body care habits.
Children are naturally curious about their body parts, especially the exter-
nal body parts that are visible. They also recognize differences in their bodies,
such as in height, weight, skin color, and physical ability. Begin teaching chil-
dren about their bodies by identifying external body parts (for example, eyes,
ears, nose, tongue, and fingers) and associating them with specific functions.
Use the five senses to introduce how specific body parts work. Through hands-on
activities like those provided in this book, children can explore how these body
parts work together.
Preschool children will not and do not need to understand how diseases are
spread (such as through direct contact, airborne transmission, and consump-
tion of food and beverages), and the concept of invisible germs is usually beyond
their comprehension. But teachers can help children begin to recognize that their
actions may affect their health. Teachers should model and encourage routine
health activities, including hand washing, coughing or sneezing into the elbow,
and toothbrushing. With instruction, modeling, and practice, teachers can help
children begin to develop self-help skills, an ability to respond to their body cues,
and decision-making skills, which all can impact their health.
Topics in this curriculum include recognizing body parts, understanding the
five senses, washing hands and practicing good hygiene, brushing teeth and
promoting good oral health, avoiding germs, and taking medicine. The activ-
ities and resources will help children learn ways to feel good about themselves
and their bodies, prevent the spread of diseases, and gain a measure of indepen-
dence and control in their lives.
Each chapter covers one topic and starts with an overview that includes sug-
gested interest area materials, learning objectives, vocabulary words to intro-
duce and use (which should include vocabulary words in the languages spoken