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May 6, 1988

Prevention Starts in Kindergarten in New York City

JAMA. 1988;259(17):2516-2517. doi:10.1001/jama.1988.03720170004003

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THE OLD HEALTH curriculum used in the elementary schools in New York City contained a section on lawn mower safety; pretty ludicrous for a city where most grass grows either in the parks or in a crack in the sidewalk, according to Dale Mann, PhD. In fact, Mann, a professor at Columbia University's Teachers' College, has nothing nice to say about that curriculum: "It was real cognitive and real preachy. It was not something I would want my son exposed to."

Reportedly, the teachers were ill-prepared to teach the subject, so they had little motivation to use the curriculum. Too many times, they ignored it completely. "Whatever the teacher taught" in effect became the curriculum, says Peggy Tumminio, assistant director, Office of Health, Physical Education and School Sports, New York City Board of Education.

Now, the children there have a new, more rigorous health education program. "Growing Healthy in New