Empowering teachers and students to understand flood risk

Primary school teachers and students in the Hawkesbury-Nepean floodplain and across NSW will now benefit from a new flood risk educational resource – Water in the Valley.

More than 70 primary teachers and pre-service teachers recently attended a webinar, hosted by Western Sydney University, about the new education package which supports teaching and learning in the NSW geography syllabus for Years 1 to 6.

NSW State Emergency Service Commissioner Carlene York said Water in the Valley is designed to help educate primary students about flood risk, using the example of flooding in the Hawkesbury-Nepean Valley.

“It aims to build resilience across our floodplain communities and helps educate and prepare young people for flood and other natural disasters,” Commissioner York said.

The resource, which also supports primary student literacy, numeracy and science, is a companion to Water in the World, a high school geography resource which was launched in 2019.

Both the primary and secondary resources have been developed through a partnership between the NSW State Emergency Service (NSW SES), Western Sydney University and Infrastructure NSW. They are key deliverables under the NSW Government’s Hawkesbury-Nepean Valley Flood Risk Management Strategy.

Director of Academic Program with Western Sydney University Dr Kay Carroll said the university was delighted to once again work with Infrastructure NSW and the NSW SES to support primary teachers and students

“Water in the Valley is age-appropriate and designed to resonate with younger learners. It is based on contemporary teaching practices with interactive activities and visually engaging materials, including videos, photographs, graphics and maps,” Dr Carroll said.

“The package is versatile. It can be used by any primary school teacher for classes delivered in the classroom and can also be used by parents for learning at home.”

The secondary and new primary resources are both available in the dedicated schools section website on the NSW SES website.

Commissioner York said the new educational package will encourage primary school students to have meaningful conversations about floods with their teachers, parents, family and friends.

“Given the Bureau of Meteorology’s recent forecasts for wetter conditions, full dams and a greater risk of flooding, these resources are relevant now more than ever,” Commissioner York said.

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