On your Guard
A Sample Unit on Safety
Unit Introduction: Safety
It is all too easy to accept the belief that our children
are among the safest in the world. Yet Canadian statistics
should provide a warning. In fact, "injuries are the leading
cause of death for Canadian children and youth between the
ages of one and 19" and "for children over the age of four,
injuries cause more deaths than all other causes of death
combined", according to Child Injury in Saskatchewan: Injury
Hospitalizations and Deaths, 1989-1994, produced in May
1996 by the Saskatchewan Institute on Prevention of Handicaps.
Following are some statistics from this report :
- In Saskatchewan, 68.8% of all deaths of children and
youth one to 19 years of age were due to injuries.
- For children five to nine years of age, the leading injury
causes of death were: drowning or choking (23%); motor vehicle
pedestrian (18%); and fire and flame (14%). The leading
cause of injury-related hospitalizations was falls (46%),
followed by cycling injuries (8%).
We generally refer to these deaths and injuries as "accidents",
implying that the circumstances were unforeseen and unforeseeable.
Yet many of these deaths and injuries could be avoided. In
our efforts to improve this situation, we need to look at
the issue of safety from the viewpoints of education and prevention:
children who know and apply safety rules are more likely to
avoid "accidents". School can play a key role in this area,
by teaching students at the elementary level to take more
responsibility for their own safety.
This Grade 1 unit helps students become more knowledgeable
and more responsible when it comes to street safety. In this
unit, students will have opportunities to learn more about
the rules of street safety, and to practise applying them
on their way to and from school.
The framework of topics in the health education curriculum
for the elementary level suggests a number of ways in which
safety education can be extended to other contexts: preventing
accidents or dangerous situations at home, on the farm, in
sports, in the street, etc. These suggested contexts and the
breakdown by grade level are merely provided as guidelines,
as the health education program should address the specific
needs of the students within their own community. The local
liaison committee might assist in planning the program to
address local issues when it comes to the safety of children.
Grade Level Perspective
"Becoming Models of Wellness" is the grade 1 wellness perspective.
Within this unit, students look at how their behaviour and
actions might serve as models for others to follow in order
to avoid injuries on their way to school. The three-level
Decision-making Process is used with that perspective in mind.
Specific titles are suggested only as examples. These and
other appropriate titles are listed in Health Education:
An Initial List of Implementation Materials for the Elementary
Level, 1998. Additional instructional materials to support
this curriculum will be listed in Health Education: A Bibliography
for the Elementary Level, scheduled to be published in
the spring of 1999.
Teachers are encouraged to investigate possibilities for
using resources suggested in other lists of materials, such
as the bibliographies accompanying the curriculum guides for
all other areas of study.
In addition to the schoolís resource centre and the public
library, check the following sources for instructional materials:
- childrenís magazines
- Internet sites
- television and radio programming
It is also important to access local human resources such
as health professionals, parents, or Elders. As in all subject
areas, care is required when arranging for guest speakers
and classroom presenters. It is the responsibility of teachers
to clarify with the speaker the content and objectives of
The following address might be contacted for up-to-date information
and for resources on safety:
1020 Thomas Spratt Place
OTTAWA, ON K1G 5L5
The second activity in this unit suggests a "safety walk"
in the area around the school. It is recommended that a letter
be sent to parents and guardians ahead of time, to
advise them that there will be an out of school activity and
to explain how it will be organized. Such a letter should
also seek authorization for students to take part, and invite
parents and guardians to accompany the group as volunteer
helpers. A sample letter is provided at the end of the unit.
It is assumed in this unit that the students are already
familiar with the Decision-making Process at this point. In
grade one, the steps within each level guide instructional
planning but are not formally taught.
- Reading activity: Warner, Donít Forget.
- Introducing a drama: "An accident near the school"
- Information on traffic signs and safety rules
- categorization and comparison
- "safety walk"
- Activities for further practice:
- stories; audiovisual materials; presentations
by resource people
- writing a book on safety rules
- practice games in the classroom or the gymnasium
Level B Explore...
3. Look at options and consequences
4. Choose an option
- Resuming the dramatic activity : "How can we
avoid other accidents?" (teacher and students role
play a meeting)
- Selecting an option which allows students to become
personally involved: students will map the route
from their home to the school with the help of their
5. Design and carry out an action plan
6. Examine the results. Revise as needed.
- Students map the route to and from school and
practise safety rules that apply to their own situations
- In the classroom, discuss the effectiveness of
plans drawn up by the students and their parents
Additional Online Resources
Education: A Curriculum Guide for the Elementary Level (Grades
1-5) Sample Units