New safety textbooks distributed to students across Shanghai

Kindergarten children are taught to reject body contact "which makes them feel uncomfortable," and to tell parents and teachers immediately if they feel concerned.

New safety education books were distributed to pupils around the city on Friday, the first school day of the new semester.

The books feature pictures and instructions written by police, education experts, linguists and professional painters.

While those for elementary and middle school pupils were supplementary to current books issued by the city’s education commission, it is the first time that such material is being provided to kindergarten children.

In the books for kindergarten students, children are taught to identify and trust the police, to properly describe a situation when calling the police on “110,” to reject gifts from strangers and to cross the streets safely.

A highlighted part instructs children to protect their bodies by rejecting body contact “which makes them feel uncomfortable,” and to tell parents and teachers immediately if they're concerned.

Shen Yanhui, an official from the General Division of Legal Affairs of Shanghai Public Security Bureau, is one of the authors of the books and the father of a kindergarten student.

“Kindergarten children used to be the weakest link in safety education in our society, but successful education on rules and laws and self-protection should start with the youngest so as to make our city safer,” he said.

Jiang Xiaowei / SHINE

Shen Yanhui gives a class to a group of children at Haoyuan Kindergarten in Putuo District on Friday morning.

Jiang Xiaowei / SHINE

A child at Haoyuan Kindergarten reads the new book.

Wang Xia, a teacher from Haoyuan Kindergarten in Putuo District, said the illustrated reader is easy both for children to read and for teachers to teach.

“It deals with many circumstances in the children’s daily exposure to this fast changing society, and contains some new information that our own safety education materials don’t already have,” she said.

The kindergarten holds monthly safety drills to train children to properly react in case of fire, earthquakes or intrusion of the premises.

Younger and older elementary school pupils will receive content aimed at different levels.

While pupils from the first to the third grade are taught not to skate on the street, ride shared bikes before they reach 12, or stare at mobile phones or gaming devices while walking, older students are asked to accept requested security checks at Metro stations and not to flaunt expensive gadgets in public.

The ban on fireworks within Shanghai's Outer Ring Road, which has been in force since the beginning of 2016, is also included in the booklets.

Jiang Xiaowei / SHINE

Ma Jun, police officer of the General Division of Legal Affairs of Shanghai Public Security Bureau, distributes readers to a class of fourth-graders at Jinzhou Elementary School in Putuo District on Friday morning.

The books for elementary school pupils also ask children to say “no” when they “feel uncomfortable when touched or stroked by a stranger.”

But Daniel Fan, the father of a six-year-old girl who attends a kindergarten in Putuo District, thinks that part of the book needs to be changed.

“Children should be told to reject any kind of touching from strangers, not just when they ‘feel uncomfortable’,” he said.

Some other parents told Shanghai Daily that they think the readers could also add a picture illustrating a little boy being touched by adults and thus warn boys about the dangers too.

The reader for high school pupils instructs them not to reveal their whereabouts on social networks such as WeChat or take part in online surveys with unknown purposes. It also asks them to tell their parents immediately if they find their personal information has been leaked, and report to the police when crimes occur.

University and college students will also receive a new booklet which features real-life cases to help them avoid traps set up by scammers and loan sharks who have increasingly targeted this group of people in recent years.

Apart from self-study and teacher-guided study of the books, police will give regular classes on safety awareness, an effort which has been ongoing.

The city has introduced a “safety education week” for the first week of every school semester since September 2014, and 528 classrooms for safety education at school have been established around the city since 2016, as well as 11 regional safety education centers.