As part of our educational approach inspired by Reggio Emilia, we stand by the belief that there’s a triad involved in a child’s development: the school, the child’s caretakers or parents, and the little one themselves. While some of the learning process can start at the daycare, why not reinforce some safety activities for preschoolers after they’re at home from school?
What is the importance of safety activities for preschoolers?
Taking care of yourself and the people you care about is an act of love, and learning how to do that through enjoyable moments can eventually be decisive.
Demonstrating that learning something new can be fun, as well as being clear on what needs to be done in case of an emergency, are the main objectives on this topic.
Is it inconsistent to mix both safety and playtime?
Since we’re talking about preschoolers, with ages varying from 3 to 5 years old, it’s important to add an entertainment element to the educational process.
Children of this age are often curious and stimulated by new learnings. They soak up knowledge almost like a sponge, so stimulating familiarity around a specific topic by this time of their life can be extra helpful a few years from now.
While associating fun moments and interactions with safety is a great way to bring the topic to the table for the first time and encourage the playtime situation, it’s also important that caretakers are clear that it’s an important topic, and learning those lessons around safety can help to save lives someday.
It’s fundamental not to scare or startle the preschooler, putting any unnecessary pressure on their learning process. A possible approach to the topic could be:
“Safety is something important to make sure that you are healthy and protected. Knowing how to keep other people safe can save lives! Do you think it’s important to know how to take care of yourself and how to act in case of an inconvenience or accident? Let’s learn together in a fun way so that you always remember what to do! This can be your new super power!”
What are the most common safety activities?
Often, the activities are divided into categories. Each of them encompass different themes around security and self-preservation.
Here a list of some of the most common safety categories and the reasons why contemplating them during playtime can be important:
- Body safety: teaching the children about not letting anyone touch them inappropriately.
- Fire safety: how to react in case of a fire nearby.
- Home safety: understanding how to (quite literally) read the room and what can be dangerous around the house. Also, how to react in case of a domestic emergency. the house they’re at.
- Road and traffic safety: making sure the child can understand their responsibility while driving or being around vehicles as a pedestrian.
- Social safety: what kind of behaviors are off-limits when you’re interacting with someone you don’t know in a public space.
- Water safety: promptly understand warning signs on beaches and water parks/pools.
Time to play safe!
By this point, you know why mixing fun time and safety is important and how this can naturally stick into the child’s mind without too much effort or creating a heavy aura around the subject.
Here are some ideas of safety activities you can enjoy together.
Know your body, know your limits
It’s highly encouraged that the child knows the name of all their body parts, specially their private zones.
Ask the child to lay on a paperboard (that has to be big enough to fit the little one). Contour their body and ask them to draw their physical characteristics on the paperboard.
Meanwhile, discuss how it’s important to know your body and knowing that there are “off-limits” zones. While you’re drawing, contour their hand and define up to 5 people (one for each finger) that are to be trusted and the child can refer to if they ever feel uneasy or uncomfortable about someone else’s behavior toward their body.
Stop, drop, roll
A very common activity which is also practiced in school classes. Basically, the idea is to transform this safety drill into something like choreography. Then, stimulate the child to perform it at random occasions, like when watching TV or getting ready for school: the most important thing is that they have the movements and their order at the back of their heads.
The idea is to educate the child on not talking to anyone they don’t know, and being specific about certain social situations. Such as:
- Don’t talk to strangers about personal information.
- If an adult “asks for their help”, the child must know that only adults can help other adults, and then walk away from the stranger.
- Always keep up the pace with the person you’re on the outdoors with (avoid being distracted and left too far behind).
- Never walk away with someone you don’t know.
As part of the funtime, the activity can include drawing uniforms of workers like firemen and police officers. If the child finds themselves in a dangerous situation, they can recognize these people by their uniforms and caps and ask for help – so drawing and talking about how they help society can also help sticking this information in their heads.
Keeping your house safe
You can have your own safety walk in a form of exploration or investigation around the house. To add a fun element to it, you and the child can use detective hats or superheroes capes while doing it!
During the walk, show the child about dangerous situations that could potentially happen in their homes – like smelling gas, how to use fire extinguishers, unknown people walking around their house in a suspicious way.
After identifying any potential dangers, it’s important they know who to ask for help if their caretakers are not available, so teaching them how to recognize the numbers for 911 through games like hopscotch or finding the numbers in remote controls, notebook keyboard etc.
Now you know how to encourage your child to learn about safety in an easy and approachable way. Hopefully, you now know that what they learn from this topic can be in the back of their heads for their whole lives and come in handy eventually.
Why not continue this preschooler development process and learn what you, as a parent, need to consider when choosing a school for your child?