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Primary citizenship - Elements of risk

What does safety mean to children? The answer is in role-play and reality, says Claire Glover

What does safety mean to children? The answer is in role-play and reality, says Claire Glover

Teaching children to know and understand that we all have the right to feel safe is important - and it's something that's easier to teach when related to real-life situations.

This is a lesson for Years 5 and 6. For the starter activity, pupils look at what the words thought, feelings and actions mean, by brainstorming words and pictures. For example, for "think" they might draw a brain or write "I like your shoes". For feelings, they might draw happy or sad faces.

Then they use these three headings to answer the question: "If I were to go on a rollercoaster ride in Blackpool, what do I think I would experience?"

For feelings they could put "scared", "happy", and for actions they could put "getting into seats".

Then as a group, they mind map the three key areas of the topic: feel safe, fun to feel scared, and risk on purpose. This is to get them to think about different circumstances in which they might experience danger.

For "feel safe", for example, they might talk about being at home, in bed, or wearing their favourite jumper. For "fun to feel scared", they might write about watching a scary movie or doing an assault course.

Then they are given a page of cartoons depicting different scenarios and asked to put them under each of the three headings, depending on which they feel best describes it: "feel safe", "fun to feel scared", and "risk on purpose".

The final task is called "someone else's shoes". Pupils are given a list of scenarios, with two columns next to them. The first asks them to imagine how that person might feel. The second asks them what they might do. The scenarios might be things such as an old lady confronted by a gang of youths or someone's first day at school.

Then they come up with their own scenarios, based on experience, and role play them in front of the class.

Claire Glover is subject leader in PSHE and citizenship at Littlemoss High School for Boys in Droylsden, Manchester.

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