Safety Curriculum

I have been doing some research in safety curriculum.  I’ve been looking at fire safety, home safety, and living in Southern California, earthquake safety.

Fire safety is easy to find many things in.  Just do a Google search and you will find all sorts of activities.  Some are pretty easy to think of like putting firefighter clothes in dramatic play, fire trucks and ambulances in the block area, and painting with orange and red in art.

Some are a bit questionable to me.  One activity I found has you painting on black paper with red and orange, making vertical lines down the page, then putting plastic wrap over it and squishing it to make flames.  I don’t know that I want to focus so much on the making of the flames rather than the putting out of the flames. 

A few that I found really interesting follow:

Make images of “unsafe” items that children are not supposed to touch: matches, sharp knives, poisonous snakes, etc.. and place those items around the classroom and the yard.  Instruct the children that when they see one of these items they are ALWAYS to come get an adult and NOT touch them.  Throughout the day children will find these items.  Reinforce with great accolades when they come and get an adult; gently remind them when they forget to get an adult.  A great way to reinforce safety with items.


Another great activity was to create a simple maze and have the children crawl through it blindfolded.  If they don’t want to do it blindfolded, that’s okay don’t force the issue; but the idea is to teach them how to get around places without being able to see.  When they are in a building that is on fire, often times you can’t see through the smoke.  This will help reinforce that idea.

Of course, there is the idea of hanging a low blanket to simulate the smoke and having the children crawl under it as well.  That is another great activity.

We have decided that for our agency we will be having one day a month that will be the exact same safety curriculum.  The repetitiveness of the curriculum will help cement these things in the children’s head.  Calling 911, knowing where you live and your phone number, safety things, etc…  This safety curriculum will take place on the same day that we have emergency drills.  This way it will be easy for the teachers to remember to do this curriculum and will continue to reinforce what the children are learning.

Finding curriculum for fire and other safety issues proved to be very easy.  Earthquake curriculum, however, has proven to be a bit more difficult.  I did manage to come up with some ideas though:

First, in the block area, have the children build with blocks on a box lid.  I’m thinking of a shoe box lid or a paper box lid (you know, the boxes that the office get when they order paper).  Have a child build with blocks on the lid then shake it in short jerky motions.  This will simulate an earthquake. 

Now, we don’t want to leave children thinking that their house is going to come tumbling down, so have available things like glue, tape, popsicle sticks, and other materials that the children can reinforce their structures with.  Once they rebuild, have them shake the box lids again.  You’ll need to reiterate to them that most building have reinforcements like they made to help alleviate any children who may be worried.

Another thing to do is go on a “scavenger hunt” to find safe places to go in case of an earthquake.  When you find a good place, put a mark on it with a sticker or tape a colored paper to the spot.  Then have the children practice playing and you shout out, “Duck and cover” and they go to the closest spot to go duck and cover underneath or near. 

Make sure when you mark the safe spots you also mark the unsafe spots so they know to get away from those areas.  Safe places would be under sturdy tables and inside corners and walls.  Unsafe places are near windows and outside walls.

Earthquakes are difficult to prepare children for because you can’t really simulate the shaking for them.  You can explain it to them, but you can’t make it happen, unlike a fire drill where you can set off the fire alarm.  We can only do the best we can, and at least this way they will be somewhat prepared.

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