Severs (2003) looks at the responsibilities of the class teacher and the head teacher in insuring the children’s safety; the class teacher has the responsibility to follow the set policies and guidelines, ensure that the environment and resources are safe participate in inspections and risk assessments and ensure that any problems are reported straight away. Teachers will have a responsibility to keep the children safe when the child is in that school, but what happens when the child leaves school.
A teacher may have the ability to protect the child in their classroom but all children should be aware of how to keep themselves safe at all times. This essay will look at the teaching of keeping safe and the following areas that may link with this aspect. Road safety, dangers of electrical objects, stranger danger, medicines in the home, hygiene and who can help you stay safe. The Institute for Citizenship (2000) looks at how PSHE and citizenship provide children with the skills, knowledge and understanding they may need to develop confident healthy and independent lives.
It is important for all children to understand how to take care of themselves; or even just to be aware of how to stay safe when an adult is not right by them. On previous School Based Learning (SBL) experiences I have witnessed a year 1 class taking part in road safety exercises; the school carried out several assemblies on the importance of road safety, and the stop, look and listen method when crossing roads. In order for the children to experience this method and apply it to real life the class took part in a walk around the local area in which they all wore the florescent vests.
When arriving at a road the children were told about the importance of using the pedestrian crossings and how before they cross the road they should always look both ways, and listen out for cars before they continue to cross. Robertson (2007) talks about how pedestrian injury is the second main cause of death for children aged between 5 and 9 years. Robertson also looks at the importance of reminding parents about the supervision of their children in road crossing and anywhere with traffic. When providing the children with road safety training the school could also provide the parents with the opportunity to attend.
In the above description of the activity I witnessed just like any other school trip, the children’s parents were invited to take part. When looking at the teaching of PSHE I believe it may be difficult to teach it the same as other subjects; However when looking at the teaching of road safety there is the possibility to teach it imbedded in with another subject. Hayes (2010) looks at how teaching road safety can be linked with geography, maths, ICT, and art: for example creating warning posters.
When teaching road safety there is the possibility to link with national curriculum geography; “make observations about where things are located (for example, a pedestrian crossing near school gates) and about other features in the environment (for example, seasonal changes in weather)” (QCDA 2011) After introducing the geographical aspects of their local area the children could begin to discuss why they think we need pedestrian crossings and why they think the crossings are positioned where they are.
By developing road safety signs and warnings in art, the children can use their work around the school and in the local area to help share the importance of what they have been learning. Primary schools that I have attended both as a pupil and in earlier placement experiences have often had a road safety council, in which the council were provided with free equipment to hand out, such as florescent badges for coats and bags along with the florescent wrist bands.
The council would help organise school assemblies and contests in which all children were asked to create posters demonstrating the dangers of roads and how to stay safe; when teaching road safety the school could do it either as a whole or as individual classes. Stones (1992) talks about how very little teaching on road safety takes place in school and when it does take place it is delivered through visitors such as road safety officers or the police.
If teachers received some training from these sources on the issue they may be able to deliver more frequent sessions. When walking or playing in their local area along with road safety it is important for children to be aware of stranger danger. Many young children can be easily influenced and should be taught that if they do not know an adult that approaches them; then they should not talk to them as they may not be a nice person.
Higton (2004) refers to an discussion he observed from a group of children about what they would do when separated from their parents in a shopping centre, he talks about the children making suggestions of asking another shopper when one child suggested that that person may be bad and take them away, the children then decided that they should ask somebody that worked in one of the shops for help. These children had developed an understanding of the stranger danger concept, but when teaching this subject it may need to be approached gently as the aim is not frighten the children into thinking any stranger will take them away.
When looking for useful resources to teach stranger danger, I came across a book by Noel Gyro Potter, this book is called Stranger Danger and tells the story of a group of children who remembered what they were taught about stranger danger and chose to run away from the stranger, they then shared their knowledge with their friends, this book also comes with stranger danger tips that you can share with both children and adults. The book was full of pictures so may be useful in helping young children to understand.
Children form a young age should develop an awareness of how to deal with the above situation and who the right person to ask for help would be. This area of keeping safe can lead to looking at who they can turn to if they need help. Wyldeck (2008) looks at the use of games to help the children understand how to deal with certain situations. She talks about reading out an incident and asking the children what they think they should do; Wyldeck talks about teaching the children how to call 999 by using a toy / disconnected telephone.
In a classroom situation you can ask the children to work in groups to think of a solution to the emergency. Other useful tools for providing this knowledge could be role play. Teachers may feel it helpful to invite emergency services to the school / class to explain what emergencies it is necessary to call 999 for, and what to do when they call. Children may be aware of services such as the police and the fire service and how they help with bad situations, and therefore should be taught how to contact them.
Along with gaining help from emergency services children should also be spoken to about who to go to if they are lost if there is no phone or emergency services nearby: for example asking help from a nearby neighbour that they know if at home or if in an area such as a shopping centre to ask somebody that works there to help. When teaching the children to stay safe it is important from a young age to inform the children about using electrical objects safely. Children will come into contact with electrical objects at home as well as school.
Charlesworth (2007) talks about how the teaching of science can introduce the dangers of electricity; why it is dangers to play with objects such as toasters, why you should never place a metal object such as a fork into a plug socket. Many children will want to explore how and why things work, therefore it will be safer to teach the children in a safe environment rather than have the children investigate on their own and hurt themselves. Demonstrate safely and allow the children to use the electrical objects safely this may be a good way to help them explore but carry out the investigation under supervision.
Explain to children that when they wish to plug an object in to ask an adult to help; or even demonstrate the importance of making sure the socket is switched off before they plug the object in. In any environment where young children will spend their time it is important to ensure that harmful substances such as medicines and cleaning products are kept in a secure place and out of the reach of children; children unaware of these products may ingest them and cause harm to them.
Moyse (2009) looks at the use of speaking to nurses, using posters and leaflets and identifying resources such as teaching packages and the use of the internet. Children depend on the adults around them to make their environment safe for them. In many circumstances children may not have an adult at home that is capable of making their environment fully safe for them, therefore the school will need to do as much as they can to teach them the dangers and help make them capable of identifying and avoiding such dangers.
The school can provide lessons that introduce warning signs and symbols, for example on cleaning products the sign for harmful. Children should be taught that medicines are for ill people and that they should not take any medicine unless an adult provides it for them. The use of role play in this situation may be useful as in the home corner children can be shown that medicines go on a high shelf or a locked cupboard so that they cannot harm babies and young children. The children can take part in a circle time session in which the teacher can ask the children ‘why do we take medicine?
The teacher could show the children bottles of harmful substances and ask them if they know what they are used for? Should we play with these liquids? In my last SBL experience the reception children would often help the teacher tidy the snack area, the teacher would show them that they used one spray of the cleaning product on the table and then wiped the table with the cloth and that once they had finished they were to wash their hands in order to get rid of the cleaning product on their hands.
The teacher would role model this as she ensured she was in the habit of washing her hands after cleaning. In one incident a child asked the teacher why the cleaning lady wore gloves top clean, the teacher told her that the teacher has to clean lots of different places and use lots of products and doesn’t want to get them on her hands because if she didn’t wash them properly when she ate her food she might eat some of the cleaning liquids and that isn’t very good for you. This child then suggested that they get a small pair of gloves for the person that helps to clean up.
If the teacher explains the dangers to children clearly children may often come up with their own solution to the problem, by making suggestions the children are showing that they have developed an awareness of the dangers. The last area of keeping safe I will look at is the aspect of hygiene and the importance of keeping clean. In one SBL experience, I took part in an activity in which the teacher brought in a bowl of water, soap and paper towels the teacher then demonstrated to the nursery class how to wash their hands ensuring they washed all the creases.
Each child then came up in small groups and washed their hands; the teacher told them how important it was to wash their hands after going to the toilet in order to get rid of germs. Mayesky (2011) talks about how it is important for adults in the child’s life to present good self hygiene in order for the children to lead from example; and that the children have the environment is equipped well to encourage good hygiene.
Teaching children that being unclean can lead to illness; and that when they are ill they can easily spread germs and the importance of covering their mouth when they cough and using a tissue to wipe their nose. Encouraging children to wash their hands can be placed into the child’s school routine with ease. In one SBL experience I witnessed a class in which the teacher ensured they washed their hands before dinner, after any art classes and before and after any cooking activities.
This allowed the children to develop a routine for washing their hands and keeping clean. . The following section of the essay will look at the possible difficulties of teaching PSHE. When looking at providing lessons for the keeping safe aspect of PSHE, I could think of areas of importance that the children should be taught however I was unsure of how best these areas could be taught in the classroom. The national curriculum provides very specific targets for curriculum subjects, and most curriculum subjects can be observed on a weekly basis.
When teaching curriculum subjects such as maths the teacher will choose or be given a set topic to teach for a section of the term, the teacher can then look for the set targets that the age they are working with will need to meet. The PSHE curriculum has outlines for specific key stages; however I have yet to witness any direct teaching. After looking at the areas for keeping safe discussed above I identified that there are numerous ways of building the PSHE targets in to other subjects and even into the daily routine, if teachers found little time to teach it directly.
Halstead (2006) refers to findings from researchers on schools lacking PSHE policies, and how many schools are not teaching PSHE in order to make room other subjects and activities. After writing and researching for this essay, and taking part in lectures around different PSHE areas, I believe that is a very important subject to teach in schools, as it may help to prepare children for independent living and in relevance to this essay help children to develop knowledge and understanding of how to stay safe in their own environments.
Tew (2007) looks at one of the disadvantages of delivering PSHE is the difficulty of maintaining a consistent ethos as it is often delivered by outside agencies, however if teaching staff can receive training at the same time as the other agencies the school could take a much more consistent approach.
One struggle that teachers may face in the delivery of PSHE is that after multi agencies pay visit to the school the teachers are unsure on how to continue to teach the chosen topic. In conclusion to this essay I believe that the teaching of PSHE can be very informative to teachers, children and parents; by providing children with the knowledge and understanding of the PSHE curriculum you may be able to help provide them with the ability to make their own safe choices.
Many of the difficulties I have identified from this essay are that teachers may not necessarily have the full training or awareness on how to provides lessons around the PSHE curriculum, if teachers had the opportunity to gain the same training of the multi agencies that deliver the assemblies in schools they may be more willing to able in delivering it themselves. After writing this essay I believe that PSHE is very important for the development of children, and it is more important for teachers to deliver than I first thought.