The objective of this study was to analyse the effect of using two health education approaches on knowledge of transmission and prevention of schistosomiasis of school children living in a rural endemic area in the state of Minas Gerais, Brazil. The 87 children participating in the study were divided into three groups based on gender, age and presence or absence of Schistosoma mansoni
infection. In the first group the social representation model and illness experience was used. In the second group, we used the cognitive model based on the transmission of information. The third group, the control group, did not receive any information related to schistosomiasis. Ten meetings were held with all three groups that received a pre-test prior to the beginning of the educational intervention and a post-test after the completion of the program. The results showed that knowledge levels in Group 1 increased significantly during the program in regard to transmission (p = 0.038) and prevention (p = 0.001) of schistosomiasis. Groups 2 and 3 did not show significant increase in knowledge between the two tests. These results indicate that health education models need to consider social representation and illness experience besides scientific knowledge in order to increase knowledge of schistosomiasis transmission and prevention.