Pacific kids learn survival through nursery rhymes

Pacific kids learn survival through nursery rhymes

Pacific kids learn survival through nursery rhymes

Updated 27 November 2012, 9:12 AEST

An Australian charity has developed a DVD which uses nursery rhymes to help early childhood teachers in the Pacific teach techniques on surviving natural disasters.

An Australian charity has developed a DVD which uses nursery rhymes to help early childhood teachers in the Pacific teach techniques on surviving natural disasters.

Caritas Australia says the DVD is a cost effective way of helping young children learn to prepare for cyclones, earthquakes and even tsunamis.

The Charity's program manager for Solomon Islands and Vanuatu, Adam Elliot has told Radio Australia, children are among the most at risk from natural disasters.

"We found that kids were vulnerable in emergencies, particularly to panic, and as adults we're all inclined to worry about our families first," he said.

"So the possibility was there for kids to be left behind or forgotten in the event of an emergency, and we felt that we need to start to prepare the kids."

Caritas says the high number of children among the victims of the 2009 earthquake and tsunami in Samoa and the 2007 tsunami in Solomon Islands led to the development of the program.

Mr Elliot says children are taught nursery rhymes with accompanying actions that contain memorable and simple emergency response information.

"Teachers [will] identify something...as a risk for their community, and they'll talk in their group and find a common tune that they all know, and that they think their school kids know," he said.

"Then with the disaster management office, they'll develop simple lyrics to fit that tune, that follow the best and recommended response in the event of something like a cyclone."

Audio: Solomon Islands children perform the 'Tsunami Song' (ABC News)

Caritas says the project has also helped many of the untrained kindergarten teachers across the Pacific develop their classroom skills.

And Mr Elliot says the program has also had a broader effect outside the classroom.

"Initially the program did target kids in early childhood education...from around the ages of 4-10," he said.

"But what we found in the monitoring is that kids well outside of the target areas are singing the songs and doing the actions as well."