Play is a central component of effective early childhood education and care programs. Through play, children learn about themselves and the world around them. Play provides the opportunity for children to learn by doing and when the child is in control of the play, they can learn naturally, make choices and solve problems without fear of failure, fostering self-esteem and confidence for further exploration. Through play-based learning, teachers should seek opportunities to address road safety in a way that expands children’s thinking and encourages problem solving.
Thoughtful and reflective educators support children’s growing understanding of safety through play-based experiences and the provision of materials, space and sufficient time for full engagement. Supportive adults will extend children’s thinking by being a play partner, a role model and a guide to understanding safe behaviours.
Educators can use children’s strengths and interests to seek opportunities to promote road safety key messages in a way that expands children’s thinking and encourages their problem-solving.
Engage in intentional teaching which extends and expands children’s learning about road safety.
Provide opportunities in the learning environment, including the local community, for safe and meaningful interaction with children, parents and carers about road safety.
Implement road safety education that is culturally relevant for the diversity of children, their families and the community.
CONTINUITY OF LEARNING AND TRANSITIONS
Use the opportunity of transitions, in active partnership with children, families and the local community, for road safety education.
ASSESSMENT FOR LEARNING
Together with children and families, reflect on each child’s learning and application of road safety to plan for future learning
Consider the following practices as a teacher:
- Support imaginative play by providing a range of creative options for ‘real life’ play in a simulated traffic environment eg dress ups for a variety of occupations including policemen/women and Children’s Crossing Guards and props such as steering wheels, chairs with ‘seatbelts’, large cardboard boxes that can be used as cars and trucks and road signs.
- Provide opportunities for children to apply their knowledge and understanding through role-play, through simulated activities and in a ‘real-life’ traffic environment (ensure that all risk management procedures for the service have been addressed when engaging with the traffic environment).
- Join in play experiences with children to support and extend their understanding of how to keep safe in the traffic environment eg when children are playing with trucks and cars in the sandpit, talk about how the ‘drivers’ and ‘passengers’ stay safe by wearing a seatbelt. Remind children that it is the law to wear a seatbelt/restraint.
2017 School Drug Education and Road Aware (SDERA)
Waters, S., Baker, S., & Bruce, K. (2012). National Practices for Early Childhood Road Safety Education. Perth, Australia: Edith Cowan University, Child Health Promotion Research Centre.