Students at the Central Valley Kindergarten Center, 1512 N. Barker Road, were having fun playing at recess last week, but were armed with new knowledge about the dangers of skin cancer.
While they played, each of them sported new, blue canvas hats to protect their faces from the sun. The students received a visit from dermatologists last week to discuss how to protect themselves from getting sunburns during the summer months. At the end of the discussion, the doctors passed out hats for every student and the teachers, too.
But it rained during the visit. The doctors were supposed to meet the whole school outside, but with the bad weather, the group of dermatologists split up to visit the classrooms.
The visit was part of National Skin Cancer Awareness Month and the representatives from Advanced Dermatology wanted to talk about their Stop the Burn campaign.
Physician’s assistant Scott Ahrndt and Dr. Joe Cvancara visited with Bob McCaslin’s and Aly Williams’ classes. The children already knew a little bit about keeping safe in the sun.
“I always wear sunscreen when I go to beaches,” one of the students said. “Me, too,” added other students.
Cvancara showed off his camouflage bucket hat. He told them he used to wear a baseball cap out in the sun, but he needed to keep his ears covered, too.
Principal Joanne Comer said the goal was to teach students three things about sun safety: find some shade under a tree, wear sunglasses and hats and always wear sunscreen.
“It’s also about educating the students,” Comer said.
Ahrndt and Cvancara read the students a book called “Skin Sense,” which followed a girl named Emily whose mother is a dermatologist. A friend of Emily’s ended up with a bad sunburn which turned his face red.
“Whoa,” the kids said when they saw how red his face was. “Oh, no, he’s in bed,” one of them said.
The doctors also explained that the students should practice sun safety even if the day is cloudy.
“Even on a cloudy day, kids wearing hats during recess helps communicate the sun awareness message to protect your skin from cancer,” said Dr. Joel Sears.
This was the first visit to a school from the office. Advanced Dermatology is hosting a Stop the Burn golf tournament July 17 at the Coeur d’Alene Resort to raise funds for more visits and hats.
Students will keep their hats at the Kindergarten Center until the end of the school year to wear during recess.