Disasters are increasingly finding Canadians unprepared. Decades of research and numerous studies have shown children are disproportionately affected by natural and technological disasters. Less research attention has been given to children not as passive victims of disasters but as active agents, effective communicators and conduits of public preparedness knowledge. During and following a disaster, schools are often regarded as the most important institution for supporting children and providing critical resources to them and their families. An effective school disaster risk reduction curriculum can significantly contribute to overall household and community preparedness. While numerous learning resources exist (e.g. Canadian Red Cross “Expect the Unexpected” program), the uptake on these program remains low.
Canada does not have a nationally adopted disaster risk reduction curriculum for schools. This project will address this gap by initiating a collaborative research project on the development of disaster risk reduction curriculum based on best practices review, case studies, pilot projects and interviews with the ongoing exemplary projects that integrate disaster risk reduction, school curriculum and key stakeholder engagement.
Research Questions: What are some of the best practices of integrating DRR in school curriculum in the US and internationally that Canadians can learn from? How can uptake on such programming and existing learning resources be increased among school teachers? What methods of delivery of DRR curriculum in schools ensure a higher percentage of information is relayed to the households? What alternative mechanisms can be used for increasing emergency preparedness among children and youth that go beyond the traditional in-class teacher led model?