Healthier Schools, New Mexico
Health Education & Life Skills

Health Education and Life Skills, taught by a licensed health education specialist, is the school's instructional program that provides the opportunity for all students to understand and practice concepts related to health promotion and disease prevention.

The Health Education and Life Skills component promotes:

  • Access to valid health information and health promotion products and services;
  • The practice of health enhancing behaviors and reduction of health risks;
  • The ability to analyze the influence of culture, media, technology, and other factors on health;
  • The use of interpersonal communication skills to enhance health;
  • The use of goal setting and decision making skills; and
  • Advocacy for personal, family, and community health.

Goal: Develop students' commitment to life-long health through a school/community which values and promotes interdisciplinary, sequential, skill-based health education.

Health Education Content Standards

The New Mexico Health Education Content Standards with Benchmarks (Click here to download) were passed by the New Mexico State Board of Education in August, 1997. The passage of the content standards into regulation will aid in the efforts to encourage schools to implement effective School Health Education. The Health Education Standards developed for New Mexico are in line with the National Standards established for Health Education. School districts must have their curriculum aligned to the standards and assess student progress at the benchmarks. The School Health Unit can provide technical assistance in curriculum alignment and assessment.

The Emerging Model of School Health Education

The Emerging Model of School Health Education focuses on skills and standards-based health education. Traditionally health education has emphasized the learning and comprehension of health facts. The health education curriculum was organized around health topic areas taught as multiple independent instructional units designed to increase knowledge.

The Emerging Model of health education as life skills education emphasizes the ability to use essential knowledge and skills necessary to adopt, practice, and maintain healthy behaviors. Health education as life skills requires a curriculum focused on the prevention of six risky behaviors:

  • use of tobacco, alcohol and other drugs
  • dietary patterns
  • sedentary lifestyles
  • behaviors that result in sexually transmitted diseases and unintended pregnancy
  • behaviors that result in unintentional injuries
  • violent and other anti-social behaviors

A life skills approach to health education provides sequential K-12 instructional units designed to develop essential knowledge in these skill areas:

  • communication
  • non-violent conflict resolution
  • decision-making
  • goal setting
  • stress management
  • resisting negative social pressure

Youth Intervention/Prevention Education in Schools (YIPES!)

YIPES! is a statewide coalition of health educators from government agencies and community-based organizations. The mission of YIPES! is to provide inservice trainings, updates and activities regarding the reduction of adolescent risk behaviors. The objective of the trainings is to assist school districts in improving, expanding and providing more effective school health/HIV education in the context of the emerging model of school health education. For information concerning YIPES! contact the School Health Unit, State Department of Education (505) 827-1804.

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Healthy kids make better students.

Better students make healthy communities.

Related Links:

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