Primary School Teacher, Crystal, shares her experience participating in our Farm Safety Creative Competition last year with her Prep class.
Farms offer a unique environment, providing a wonderful place for children to live, grow, explore, and visit. However, because farms are typically both a home and workplace, children are often exposed to a wide range of potential injury hazards that aren’t present in urban home environments.
Heavy machinery, dams, animals, quad bikes, and poisons are just some of the hazards that you would expect to see on most working farms. While they are central to day-to-day operation of a farm, the risks they pose to children are very real.
Statistics from the Victorian Injury Surveillance Unit show that in 2019/20, 394 Victorian children aged 0-14 years were treated in hospital as a result of an injury sustained on a farm. Data also reveals that children in outer regional areas of Victoria are four times more likely to die due to injury than children in major cities.
Kidsafe Victoria’s annual Farm Safety Creative Competition, which is run with the support of Agriculture Victoria’s Smarter, Safer Farms Program, provides an opportunity to engage children and their families in learning and discussions about farm safety.
The competition invites Victorian children aged from 3 years old all the way up to Year 6 primary school students to draw on their creativity to design educational materials including: videos, posters, illustrated stories, collages, radio ads or inventions based on this year’s theme “Think Farm Safe, Be Farm Safe”.
This month, the Kidsafe team spoke to Prep Teacher, Crystal, from Holy Trinity Catholic Primary School about her experience participating in our Farm Safety Creative Competition last year with her class. Crystal’s students won first place in the Prep-Year 2 category for their class video on how to be safe around farm animals.
Our school principal sent out a flyer to all staff and invited us to get involved. I read through the content, loved it, and thought it would be a fun competition to be a part of. Many of my students are also from farming backgrounds, which made it a great link in too.
The process started off with asking my students to start thinking about the animals they see at farms. Then students were split into groups to discuss ideas. We then compared the 5 groups’ ideas about farm animals and lots of similarities flowed. They then decided to do some investigation on their iPads – this involved choosing an animal and researching the best ways to keep safe around them, as well as looking at previous competition entries for inspiration. I also showed snippets of the videos provided in the Teacher’s Pack from the Kidsafe website which gave a good overview of animal safety on the farm. I found this really useful.
After their research came the creation process. Firstly, was the modelling part, where they created a farm out of recycled objects that they brought in from home (e.g. egg cartons, plastic bottles, cardboard boxes). They then spent a few lessons creating and making their models – the students worked so well together and did such a great job.
Their masterpieces were amazing! I was blown away at how creative they were!
After they created their models, they discussed how they could present it and the students suggested creating an iMovie video. They all discussed features to include, and all the kids chose every element – it all came from them. The students all wrote up a speech together of what they wanted to talk about throughout the video.
Teamwork was an important area for us, so it was great to see them work together as a team. The competition taught them how to be a collaborative learner – being able to listen and take their peers’ ideas into account, share ideas as well as learning how to be an active listener.
They absolutely loved it – they all had a ball!
The competition also linked in well with our school rules and school ‘touchstones’ – one of which is speaking appropriately, using ‘golden words’ (manners). Additionally, the activities in the Teacher’s Pack aligned well with the English component of the curriculum through reading. I found books linked to farm safety to provide them with the extra knowledge to help back up their learning and activities.
I received lots of positive feedback from parents who mentioned that the competition and activities sounded great and that the kids had continued to discuss farm safety at home too.
Some kids didn’t understand how big the award was at first! Once I explained it was across the whole of Victoria and mapped it out, they were so wrapped and so amazed at how their work was seen by other students, schools and the public. I also showed them the website and they were excited to see it on there.
They were so proud to receive their awards!
I would absolutely recommend the competition and resources – 100%! Both were fantastic. It was really good to see the kids out of their comfort zone and great to see how well they could do it. It just shows how amazing they can be when they’re engaged with the activity and topic.
The Farm Safety Creative Competition is proudly supported by the Victorian Government’s Smarter, Safer Farms Program.
A special thank you to Crystal and Holy Trinity Primary School for participating in the competition and sharing their feedback!
• Active adult supervision is essential to help prevent childhood injuries on farms. It’s a good idea to have set supervisors so there is no confusion about who is watching the children.
• Create safe play areas away from hazards like dams, animals and machinery.
• Educate children from a young age about potential hazards and teach them clear rules and guidelines on a farm.
• Have age-appropriate jobs for children and restrict involvement in dangerous tasks.
• All families and farm workers should know correct first aid procedures to ensure no time is wasted in the event of an emergency.
For more information and tips on keeping children safe on farms, including checklists and guides, please click here.
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