10 Summer Safety Tips for English Learners

It’s important for teachers of English learners to teach or review safety issues that are unique to the summer before the end of the school year. We should not assume that ELs have understood lessons on safety that were taught earlier in the  year. It would also be helpful to send the information to parents in their home language. Many the sites listed below have information in Spanish.

1. Fire emergencies. Review information with ELs about what to do in case of a fire. Young children will love the interactive Sparky website that teaches fire safety. Check out the fire safety activities that can be used by children. This information is available in English and Spanish.

2. Stranger danger. Review with your ELs who the “safer strangers” are in their neighborhoods. Teach students what they need to do if they are approached by a stranger. There are a number of You Tube videos that can be used to review stranger danger.   Run, Run, Run, Yell and Tell is an example of these videos.  Information in Spanish for parents is also available.

3. Calling 911.  ELs of all ages need to know how and when to call 911. Teach students that 911 is the main number for all types of emergencies. An operator will put the caller in direct contact with whatever kind of help is needed. This makes response time quicker. Available in English and Spanish.

4. Neighborhood safety. ELs need to know how to stay safe in their neighborhoods. Have children learn important phone numbers and where they should go in their neighborhood in case of an emergency. EL parents need to know who their children’s friends are and where their children are when they’re not at home. This information is available in Amharic, Spanish, Chinese, French, Korean. and Vietnamese.

5. Pool and water safety. Children need to know the importance of staying safe around water. Many water deaths take place in home pools. Even children are able to swim need to be watched. Explain to parents that children need constant supervision around water.  The Red Cross has information for parents. The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission offers this pool safety bulletin in Spanish.

6. Beach and ocean safety. If you live near the ocean, teach beach safety to your English learners. ELs and their parents need to know that swimming in the ocean takes different skills than swimming in a pool. It is essential to understand rip currents and how to swim in waves. Children who do not know how to swim in the ocean should wear a life jacket when around water. Beach safety lessons should also include information on protecting children from the sun and swimming only when a lifeguard is present. The United States Lifesaving Association offers this list of beach safety tips in Spanish.

7. Seat belt safety. Remind children the importance of wearing a seat belt at all times when they are traveling in a car. If the EL families in your school are from countries where seat belts are not mandatory, they may not know about the laws in the United States.

8. Pedestrian Safety. Learning how to cross streets safely is also important. Go to Safekids.org to get walking safety tips for children (also available in Spanish). Teach ELs how to be safe when crossing the street on the way to school or a local park and playing in their neighborhoods. Also, explain the importance of crossing at crosswalks.

9. Bicycle safety. ELs and their parents need to understand bicycle safety and the importance of wearing a helmet. Explain how badly children ‘s heads can be hurt if they aren’t wearing a helmet.  Kidshealth.org has a webpage about bike safety available in both English and Spanish.

10. Extreme weather safety. Provide information to students and their families about safety during weather events including hurricanes and tornadoes. Weatherwizkids.com has a list of extreme weather events with safety tips. Pick out weather events that occur in your part of the country and teach ELs what they need to do to stay safe.

Do you have summer safety lessons that you teach your ELs? Please post them in the comments.

About Judie Haynes

Judie Haynes
Judie Haynes taught elementary ESL for 28 years and is the author and coauthor of eight books for teachers of ELs , the most recent being “Teaching to Strengths: Supporting Students Living with Trauma, Violence and Chronic Stress“ with Debbie Zacarian and Lourdes Alvarez-Ortiz. She was a columnist for the TESOL publication "Essential Teacher" and is also cofounder and comoderator of the Twitter Chat for teachers of English learners #ELLCHAT.
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