NEW CANAAN — Third and fourth-grade New Canaan students will begin to attend health education starting next school year, but not these aren’t the health classes their parents experienced.

“There is a global revolution taking place of schools transitioning to skills-based health education,” said Health and Physical Education Coordinator for New Canaan schools, Jonathan Adams.

“Simply put, it’s skill acquisition. The ability for students to acquire the skills, with utility to enhance their health and the health of others,” Adams said.

The district will offer approximately 10 health education classes for third and fourth-grade students starting in the 2018-2019 school year. School officials say no additional funding will be needed for the classes and no staff will need to be added.

“We plan on doing this by using two health teachers at Saxe, and myself, to deliver these lessons,” Adams said.

Currently, the only health education delivered to elementary students comes during gym class.

The new curriculum was developed with National Health Education Standards in mind. Input from parents, teachers and administrators shared in focus groups and from New Canaan’s Curriculum Leadership Council (CLC) — a group comprised of faculty and administrators — was also weighed. The curriculum was also created with the standards and practices of the Society of Health and Physical Educators in mind.

The lessons will promote “health literacy” and “skills-based health education” as well as emotional intelligence classes could also include lessons on conflict resolution strategies, developing healthy peer relationships, problem-solving and decision-making skills, healthy and appropriate communication while video gaming.

Adams said he and other health teachers are finalizing units and lesson plans, while also working to develop a kindergarten through second-grade health education curriculum for later implementation in the district.

Thirty-minute health education classes will be built into hour-long special blocks and will share time with things like Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) time, according to Assistant Superintendent of Curriculum, Instruction and Assessment Jill Correnty.

“They might not go to the computer lab for the full hour block,” Correnty said.

According to Adams, the new classes will fill a gap in New Canaan Public Schools’ curriculum.

“When we did our curriculum analysis and we identified gaps, this was one of the biggest gaps that we saw, is elementary health education,” Adams said.

justin.papp@scni.com; @justinjpapp1; 203-842-2586