The Health Promoting School: International Advances in Theory, Evaluation and Practices

The Health Promoting School: International Advances in Theory, Evaluation and Practices

The Health Promoting School: International Advances in Theory, Evaluation and Practices

The Health Promoting School: International Advances in Theory, Evaluation and Practices

Excerpt

School health promotion has made a considerable progress since its beginnings in the early nineties of the last century. Expanding the traditional approach of health education in schools, which aimed at influencing knowledge, attitudes and behaviour of pupils it reached its final and elaborated conceptualization in the settings approach of the health promoting school. This approach, which links democracy, participation and health, has gained acceptance as one of the most powerful approaches to promoting health, empowerment and action competence in and with schools.

In 1992 the European Network of Health Promoting Schools started with pilot schools in four countries: Czech Republic, Poland, Slovac Republic and Poland (Stewart Burgher et al., 1999). Today more than 40 countries are members of this network. Several initiatives planned and negotiated with partners by the Technical Secretariat of WHO Europe in Copenhagen have stimulated the development of the network and strengthened its capacities. One event was an international workshop on ‘Health Education and Democracy’ held in Copenhagen in 1994 (Jensen, 1995), involving 65 participants from 30 countries’ health promoting school networks. A later major event was the first Conference of the ENHPS in Thessaloniki-Halkidiki (Greece) (WHO, 1997). The theme of the conference ‘The Health Promoting School – an Investment in Education, Health and Democracy’ pointed in a direction we are still going. School health promotion has to be integrated in the educational agenda of the schools and has to been seen as contributing, through strategies such as participation, action competence and empowerment, to democratic development . . .

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