Lets Teach Risk in Early Years!

Have you ever been in the situation where you can not see your child for a few minutes in a busy shopping centre, camping near a river, at a park, playground or a festival?

This is the time we need the children to understand risks by walking off from their parents, what happens how do they find their way back, who do they talk to, we teach them not to talk to strangers…. who do they talk to?  or if they are camping there is a fire or maybe a dangerous situation, how do they know not to touch the fire or roast the marshmallows, eat them straight away resulting in burning their little mouth…

Recently at my son’s school they were taught risk assessment through a play activity  by the children being immersed in an emergency scenario in class where an area had been cordoned off with tape after the schools mascots and teddies seemed to have had a party over night! Children had to use their investigative skills to interpret the clues left and discussed the fire hazards they spotted.

We were told during the year the class will also have two more learning activities involving bandages and thievery which will involve bringing in the other two emergency services (police and ambulance).

The skills the children are learning are problem solving, communication , understanding our world, social, emotional development and many more skills by understanding the stages of risk, how to manage a situation and why we need to look for risks and always be safe. See below how the learning activity links to the learning outcomes (which my sons school provided).

Personal social and emotional development

  • Collaboration – working as a team
  • Listening to others’ ideas
  • Negotiate and resolve conflicts wit minimal support
  • Aware of boundaries, own feelings and needs of others
  • Confidence in new social situations – preparation for end of year production

Communication and language

  • Using talk to share ideas, observations and feelings
  • Listening carefully to others and responding appropriately
  • Asking questions and making predictions – reading clues and sharing findings from emergency crime scenes
  • Explore different means of communications

Physical development

  • Identifying and managing risks in our immediate environment – organising resources and transporting them safely
  • Staying healthy – fitness and foods
  • Road safety
  • Fire safety
  • Stranger danger
  • Fine motor – pencil grip


  • Letters & Sounds Phase 1 Phonics – rhythm/rhyme
  • Weekly letter sounds
  • Explore a range of fiction and non fiction texts
  • Reading skills – adding meaning to signs in environment and making predictions from pictures/situations
  • Mark making opportunities in various media and in role play i.e. recording reporter findings from emergency crime scenes


  • Numeral recognition – telephone numbers
  • Making sets and partitioning
  • Shapes in the environment – features and attributes
  • Sorting criteria

Understanding our world

  • Exploring different emergency occupations
  • ICT – investigate what technology the emergency services use i.e. radio, speed camera, heart monitor etc.
  • Making observations of key features and details in our environment – reading clues
  • QR iPad performance task

Lets teach our child risk assessment in a fun way…Do you have activities that you can share for teaching risk?

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