Grade 1
On your Guard

A Sample Unit on Safety

Lesson Plans | Additional Internet Resources

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.

Gathering Resources

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
  • brochures

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 presentation.

The following address might be contacted for up-to-date information and for resources on safety:

Canada Safety Council
1020 Thomas Spratt Place


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.

Unit Overview

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.




Level A


1. Think

2. Research

  • Reading activity: Warner, Donít Forget.
  • Introducing a drama: "An accident near the school" (mime; interview)
  • 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 parents

Level C


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

Taken from: Health Education: A Curriculum Guide for the Elementary Level (Grades 1-5) Sample Units


© 2007. Online Learning Center, Saskatoon Public Schools