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From The CriticsReviewer: J. Thomas Pierce, MBBS PhD(Navy Environmental Health Center)
Description: "The authors explore the school environment from the perspective of environmental health sciences. The authors are physicians and educators trained in pediatrics, occupational and environmental medicine, and medical toxicology. It is astonishing that this has not been previously attempted. This book is what you need if you are involved with a pediatric environmental health specialty unit or similar enterprise. "
Purpose: The authors intend the book to be evidence-based, readable, generously illustrated, and practical. Its larger goal, creating and maintaining a suitable school environment, is important for parents, school staff, administrators, officials, and health professionals. In other words, this book is for all of us who care about the health of school children.
Audience: The audience includes parents, school staff, administrators, and health professionals. It should become an accepted reference for all pediatric environmental health specialty units and similarly functioning organizations. It is written at a thorough enough level to permit its adaptation in a variety of circumstances. Rather than endless regulations, many of us need a book such as this that can serve as a guide.
Features: In its first six parts, various aspects of the school environment are examined. These chapters include the physical environment of the school, air quality issues, pest control, cleaning methods, food safety, safe design for playgrounds, crime and violence prevention, and transportation. The last two parts make recommendations for school administrators to maximize the health of their schools. The book evaluates the school environment, implementing strategies to address children and adults with disabilities, emphasizing health services, infectious disease prevention and recognition, and occupational health for faculty and staff. It is both thorough and temperate in its treatment of difficult issues.
Assessment: I liked this book a lot. Its balance of authors across continents (North America and Europe with some Pacific Rim experience) includes an eclectic mix of trainers, engineers, family and school learning specialists, and poison control personnel. The book isn't particularly preachy, but it insists upon an in-depth examination of issues. It takes on a thorough examination of the design characteristics needed for a high-performance school. The book provides remedies that can be attempted in districts where budgets are quite limited or in cases where so-called portable classrooms have become fixtures.