Being healthy and safe

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Safety and security

A child becomes strong in their social and emotional wellbeing.

They:

  • feel safe, secure and supported
  • take increasing responsibility for their own health and safety.

Educators focus on the following aspects of children’s learning:

  • sense of emotional safety in familiar environments
  • enjoyment and satisfaction in exploring the indoor and outdoor play environments, healthy risk-taking and engaging in play and learning
  • confidence to communicate their needs for comfort and assistance
  • confidence that familiar people will provide support in times of need or change
  • strategies for understanding, expressing and self-regulating feelings and emotions
  • ability to keep themselves and others healthy and safe
  • capacity and competence in personal care and safety for themselves and others
  • enjoyment of solitude, quietness, reflection and relaxation.

Educators intentionally promote this learning, for example, when they:

  • create an environment where children can be self-sufficient in eating, drinking, sleeping and toileting, for example, a small table or island mat under a tree set with morning tea available for children to access when hungry, cosy spaces available for rest and sleep, using photo sequences of the children to prompt safety and good nutrition practices
  • take time to engage in enjoyable and trusting conversations with children and their families
  • notice and respond sensitively to children’s emotional signals and cues
  • allow children to complete routines at their own pace, and seek their permission before assisting with personal health routines
  • discuss and reinforce safe and unsafe situations both in the early learning centre and in the community, and involve children in developing rules to keep the environment safe for all
  • provide verbal and nonverbal direction in situations where children require support to remain safe
  • model and reinforce personal practices with children, for example, eating healthy foods, blowing their nose, covering sneezes, washing hands, brushing teeth
  • invite Elders and community to share stories with health and safety messages
  • incorporate songs, games, rhymes, stories, puppets, music and dance or use a range of texts, songs, games and information and communication technologies, in Standard Australian English and first languages, that support safe and healthy lifestyles and good nutrition
  • involve children in investigating or visiting services and individuals within the community that promote health and safety
  • involve children in preparing and sharing healthy foods with peers, family and community members
  • implement specific health and safety programs for children in collaboration with families and communities, for example, The Breathing, Blowing, Coughing routine for Otitis media.

Educators look for evidence of children’s learning, for example:

In the familiar contexts of family and community when children:

  • demonstrate emotional closeness to multiple caregivers and to the community at large
  • prefer to make their own decisions about the right time for familiar routines
  • care for younger siblings and cousins
  • seek emotional support and companionship from their peer group
  • demonstrate well established self- help skills and choose when to eat, sleep and play
  • show awareness of safety and healthy risk-taking, for example, through swimming, fishing, hunting, community sport and recreation.

In new and unfamiliar contexts of an early learning program when children:

  • prefer closeness with familiar adults and peers when sharing a story, yarning together, listening to music or resting
  • explore the indoor and outdoor environments with the support of familiar adults
  • rely on support and visual prompts to become self-sufficient in eating, drinking, sleeping and toileting
  • follow health and safety routines with support and modelling, for example, blowing noses, covering sneezes, washing hands, brushing teeth
  • prefer to watch and listen to songs, games and stories that reinforce healthy and safe practices.

In the familiar contexts of a culturally secure early learning program when children:

  • participate happily and confidently within the environment
  • contribute to shared rules about safe practices in the learning environment
  • encourage others to be aware of healthy and safe practices
  • show interest in familiar community members or services that promote health and safety
  • imitate health and safety practices through songs, games, books, stories and role play
  • indicate an awareness of changes in their bodies, for example, growing taller and identifying differences in their peers, for example, eye colour or hair colour
  • show enjoyment in moments of quietness, reflection and relaxation.

As you reflect on practices, ask yourself

Have I created an environment that is responsive to children’s understanding of time within family and community contexts? How can I accommodate children’s need for routines at the ‘right time’?

In what ways do the children demonstrate awareness of healthy and safe practices within family and community contexts? How can I build on this knowledge?

Do I allow the children to be self-sufficient in routines?

How do I involve families and community in sharing information about the children’s shared rituals and routines within the program?

Where can I access expert advice on specific health issues? How can I connect families with these services?

Are there times for reflection, relaxation and silence?

How do I show respect for children’s particular rituals or ways of doing things?