Kids to lead farm safety campaign

Littlescribe and The Land invite schools to take part in farm safety campaign

Littlescribe Stories
Ulmarra Public School took part in the Littlescribe writing project and student Ida McGrath had her story published in The Land this week.

Ulmarra Public School took part in the Littlescribe writing project and student Ida McGrath had her story published in The Land this week.

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A story from Ulmarra Public School student Ida McGrath.

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A farm can be one of the best places to grow up, there's freedom and adventure, coupled with developing an innate understanding of responsibility and hard work.

However, farms can also be some of the most dangerous places to live in Australia, with numerous risks to navigate on a daily basis, from motorbike riding, to snakes, to swimming in dams.

With this in mind, The Land and Littlescribe is inviting schools and students from across Australia to lead a Farm Safety campaign, creating posters or factual pieces on the topic.

Ulmarra Public School student Ida McGrath has written 'My Ulmarra Life', which can be read below. Ida's story touches on the farm safety topic of being careful around wells.

Ulmarra Public School student Ida McGrath has written 'My Ulmarra Life', which can be read below. Ida's story touches on the farm safety topic of being careful around wells.

Schools will be able to register with Littlescribe to access 'The Farm Safety Writing Resource Kit', designed for students in primary and high school.

It includes articles from The Land, video and visual stimulus, printable resources and templates - all connected to the curriculum.

The best entries will be featured in the paper and the posters will be able to be printed and put up in homes, schools and workplaces.

Engaging students' creativity to cut through safety messages

Littlescribe founder Jenny Atkinson said this initiative will offer a purpose for students' writing, especially for children living on farms and in rural communities.

"We will engage students' creativity to really cut through important safety messages", Ms Atkinson said.

"We're using posters because it's visual literacy and words coming together, they require messages to be delivered very quickly in order for the audience to understand.

"What sits behind the simplicity of that message, is a deep understanding of the topic which now resides inside the child, that they've gone on to communicate.

"We encourage the use of humour, the power of persuasion, facts and figures".

Children who live on, or have visited, farms will be able to bring first-hand knowledge to the topic, which they can share and communicate with their classmates.

While, students in city schools will gain a better understanding of what life is like for their country counterparts.

It would also be amiss to think that farm safety is only relevant for those living on farms, with a large percentage of accidents involving visitors.

Educating children can impact adult behaviour

Students and schools are encouraged to include safety tips for both adults and children in their work.

FarmSafe Australia executive officer Stevi Howdle said giving children a voice and opportunity to speak about farm safety may have an influence on their parents' awareness of the safety practices that they are modelling.

"Educating children at a young age means that they are more likely to notice dangerous behaviours", she said.

An example of this is a video produced by UK farm safety foundation Yellow Wellies for Farm Safety Week. The video showed children acting out a conversation that farmers often had, dismissing the need for farm safety.

Hearing the words "a load of health and safety nonsense" from children is a powerful way to change people's perspectives on the topic.

From quad bikes to water safety 

There are a range of subjects which could be explored under the broad banner of farm safety. Quad bikes have been the centre of conversations on farm safety recently, the first stage of a controversial safety code came into effect in October.

Other topics include water safety, around farm dams or irrigation channels, vehicle safety, including wearing a seat belt even when on private or dirt roads, and horse safety, what's the best way to approach a horse?

A good example of a farm safety topic is included in the story featured this week (above) by Ulmarra Public School student Ida McGrath.

In the story Ida speaks about visiting her cousins' farm and having to be careful of the well, but there is a fence that keeps them safe - encapsulating the situation, risk and solution in a couple of sentences.

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