Health and safety education for children

PPE - October 11, 2013 - 0 comments

health-and-safety-education-for-children-napo-characterThis morning before school, my nine year old son had some visual stimulus he really wasn’t expecting. Instead of getting to watch Gumball Waterson, he was introduced to another famous cartoon character – Napo.

We reviewed “No laughing matter” together and he was really engaged from the start. After each section I asked him what the point of the scene had been. The interesting thing was that he got it each time. He “liked Napo and the other characters” although he said “it would be better if the characters’ mouths moved and they actually spoke real words, not just made noises” Fair enough, but he agreed that that may be difficult to do with all the languages that the film has been translated into.

An interesting concern my child had was that smaller children might copy some of the unsafe behaviour shown in the film. This is an interesting one, but as the films are specifically intended for children aged seven and above, it shouldn’t be an issue. He was happy with that.

The big one for me was that he thought classes of children would giggle, but that the children would remember the films. Enjoyment and learning sit well together, so perhaps this was indeed the intention of the creators. If it was, then the films are a job well done, according to the feedback from one nine year old boy!

‘Napo for teachers’, developed by the European Agency for Safety and Health at Work and the Napo Consortium, is designed to introduce basic health and safety concepts to children aged between 7 and 11 in primary schools. The training fits into existing curriculum subjects and covers topics that children are likely to encounter at home and at school, including safety signs, risks to the skin and back and the identification of risks and hazards. EU-OSHA made this health and safety education for children available to 13 Member States in 2012 (7 languages) and now 12 more countries in Europe are joining the initiative.

Study resources for teachers

Each study pack outlines the key messages and learning objectives, offering teachers full details on suggested activity ideas and the resources required, alongside a sample lesson plan that can be readily incorporated into a typical 40 minute lesson. The resources offer high quality health and safety education for children and include suggested lesson plans to educate children aged between seven and eleven on the importance of health and safety.

The informative education toolkits feature full instructions, suggested activities and accompanying downloadable resources, to provide teachers and educators support and guidance on incorporating OSH messages into the existing curriculum. The flexible lessons are designed to fit alongside current curriculum subjects to reinforce and assist in their teaching. There are toolkits available for target age groups 7-9 years and 9-11 years.

The idea of teaching health and safety to primary school children strikes me as being an extremely positive development, so hats off to EU-OSHA and the Napo Consortium for their efforts. Will the Napo training produce a whole generation of safety conscious adults? I think the answer is yes, if this excellent initiative for children is disseminated to schools properly.

Download ‘Napo for teachers’ free of charge

Watch all of the Napo films

Read the EU-OSHA bulletin Lessons for life with Napo – now available in 18 languages

Contains material under Copyright 1998-2013 by the European Agency for Safety and Health at Work (EU-OSHA).

PPE.ORG is a media partner of EU-OSHA.

Health and safety education for children By PPE.