Thinking Ahead


What does the future hold for the kids of today’s up and coming generation? Is it hovercars and space travel, with robots and machines to take care of the running of every facet of their lives? Maybe it is – who can say? However, regardless of the technological changes that may lie ahead of them, at this point in time it is our responsibility to prepare them for their future as best we can. This covers every aspect of their lives – education, social as well as ensuring their physical wellbeing and care.

During the developing years of a child’s life, forward planning is rarely found, with most children living for the now, with little or no concept of the future. The concept that events or actions which occur today could affect their lives twenty years later is simply unfathomable – in particular, the matter of overexposure to the sun and UV radiation.

While awareness of the danger that such overexposure poses has risen in the last few years, it is still our responsibility to oncoming generations to do the long term thinking for them in this matter until they are able to do so for themselves. This is particularly important for schools, given that the more children are exposed to UV radiation, the greater the risk is that they will develop skin cancer later in life. Sun exposure, especially during the first 15 years of life, has a significant contribution towards a lifetime risk of developing skin cancer. Skin can burn in as little as 15 minutes in the summer sun, meaning children are particularly at risk of developing sunburn during interval and lunch breaks.

Given that children spend up to 7 hours a day there, school makes up a very large percentage of a child’s life. Teachers and educators, therefore, bear a large share of the responsibility to make sure children are kept as safe and healthy as possible to give them the chance that they so deserve at the best life possible. That means teaching them about the benefits of exercise and healthy eating etc, but (perhaps more importantly), investing in shade structures, sunhats, and the time it takes to educate a child to be sunsmart.

That’s the best hope that our kids have for a healthy and cancer free future – unless someone discovers a cure for cancer sometime soon, and that chance is not one we should be willing to take.

Have YOU ensured that your students will be kept shaded and safe this summer? Call Shade Systems on 0800 166 722 today to discuss what shade options would be best suited for your school and pupils.

As featured in Education Aotearoa, Spring edition 2014