CATCH disseminates The Sunbeatables™ Program, developed by The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center.
Free training and one free toolkit per trained site now available* – Sign up here!
*In order to qualify for a free curriculum toolkit a site (a site is a location or center with a distinct address) must enroll a minimum of 10 preschool aged children ages 2-5 and/or a minimum of 10 school aged children ages 5-8.
About the program
The Sunbeatables™ Program is an evidence-based program that aims to educate teachers, parents, and children about sun protection. The preschool curriculum consists of five units. Each unit includes four activities. Activities include a puppet show, sun safety songs, science experiments, and more! Children meet superhero characters, Ray and the Sunbeatables, who have sun safe superpowers to protect against the harmful effects of UV rays. As a result of the curriculum, children will:
- Express why sun protection is important
- Demonstrate how to protect their skin from the sun
The curriculum covers the following areas of content learning that are adapted from the Head Start Child Development and Early Learning Framework:
Expansion plans are underway! Ray and the Sunbeatables™: A Sun Safety Curriculum for K-1 will be available beginning in August 2016. More information in our Q&A (PDF).
Looking for a sample lesson? Click here to see a preview of the sun protection curriculum!
“I think it’s very important to start teaching sun protection at an early age so that the children get into a habit of sun protection.”
– Teresa Batema, Preschool Center Director
Why Sun Safety?
Skin cancer is the most common type of cancer in the United States. An estimated 1 in 5 people will develop skin cancer in their lifetime. Anyone, regardless of skin color, can develop skin cancer, including the most serious type, melanoma.
Facts about melanoma:
- Number of new melanomas diagnosed increases yearly
- One of the most common forms of cancer in older adolescents/young adults
- One person dies of melanoma every hour
Sunburn during childhood is a major risk factor for melanoma so it is important for children to develop sun protection habits now.
“The teachers communicate with me and other parents on sun protection by sending home letters, by reminding us as we pick the kids up in the afternoons and also by educating the children so that really the children are our biggest reminder because they’ll, at the end of the night, ‘Mommy, make sure you have my sunscreen,’ or in the morning, ‘Make sure you have my sunscreen.”
–Nakeisha Brown, Parent
Sun Protection intervention works
“Ray and the Sunbeatables™: A Sun Safety Curriculum for Preschoolers continues MD Anderson’s dedication to preschool sun protection. In a 2007 study conducted by Gritz et al, the Sun Protection is Fun! (S.P.F.) program resulted in significant behavioral effects on teacher’s use of sunscreen, protective clothing, and shade to protect children.
A 2005 study of the S.P.F. program showed that parents became more knowledgeable about sun protection, and the program positively impacted parents’ sun protection behaviors for children.
Copyright © 2015-2016 The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center
Ray and the Sunbeatables™, Ray & the Sunbeatables™, Sunbeatables™, and the Ray and the Sunbeatables characters are trademarks of The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center.