About

Rationale and aim

The purpose of the Bushfire Education website is to provide teaching and learning resources to support bushfire education for early childhood settings, primary and secondary schools. Based on the four themes of learning about, preparing for, responding to, and recovering from bushfires, the aim of the Bushfire Education website is to better prepare all young Australians for the challenges of living in a country that regularly experiences bushfires.

The Bushfire Education teaching and learning activities have been aligned against the Victorian Early Years Learning and Development Framework (VEYLDF) and the Victorian Curriculum F-10, which are derived from the Early Years Learning and Development Framework and the Australian F-10 curriculum respectively.

While the central focus of the website is about bushfires, educators should note that some of the material also includes resources that covers fire behaviour, fire safety, and other types of fires such as grass and coastal fires.

Background

The Bushfire Education website was established by the Victorian government in response to Recommendation 6 of the 2009 Victorian Bushfires Royal Commission. The Royal Commission was tasked to investigate the causes and responses to the devastating bushfires that swept through parts of Victoria in late January and February 2009, culminating in the tragic events that became known as the 'Black Saturday' fires.

Recommendation 6 of the Bushfires Royal Commission's final report called for Victoria to lead an initiative to ensure that the national curriculum incorporated the history of bushfire in Australia, and that existing curriculum areas include elements of bushfire education.

The first iteration of the Bushfire Education website was launched in 2011. In 2015, an extensive review of all aspects of the website was undertaken by the VCAA, with input from the Victorian fire services. The outcome of the review resulted in changes to the website's navigational structure, functionality and content, with all teaching and learning activities being updated and aligned to either the relevant VEYLDF outcomes or the new Victorian Curriculum F-10.

Structure

The Bushfire Education website has been organised to support the learning needs of children in early childhood settings (the Early Years module), lower primary school (the Lower Primary module), middle and upper primary school (the Mid-Upper Primary module) and secondary school (Secondary module).

Each module is structured around the four themes of learning about bushfires, preparing for bushfires, responding to bushfires, and recovering from bushfires. Each theme is explored through individual sessions that

  • links a particular session to the relevant early years framework outcome or curriculum area
  • sets out specific learning intentions
  • lists suggested resources to support its teaching and learning
  • sequences the learning activities with 'starting', 'exploring', 'bringing it all together', and 'extending'.

Some themes, such as 'Preparing for Bushfires' and 'Recovering from Bushfires', may be more relevant in particular contexts. For example, in bushfire-prone areas, children may have directly experienced planning for bushfires, an actual bushfire and/or what happens after a bushfire. In these contexts, children are more likely to have prior knowledge and understanding about key concepts. Educators should carefully consider the themes and sessions that are most appropriate for their children, communities and contexts, including the potential for discomfort or distressand adapt teaching materials to best suit their particular environment and the needs and abilities of their learners.

Overview of themes and teaching and learning sessions

Learning about bushfires
  • Foundation
  • What is fire safety?
  • Types of fires
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  • Levels 1 - 2
  • Types of fires – good and bad
  • The Fire Triangle
  • The impact of radiant heat
  • Introducing the Fire Danger Rating System
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  • Levels 5 - 6
  • The Fire Triangle and exploring what a fire needs to burn
  • The impact of radiant heat during bushfires
  • Understanding the Fire Danger Rating System
  • Causes and effects of a bushfire
  • Exploring Victoria's bushfire history
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  • Levels 7 - 8
  • Living with bushfires
  • Types of bushfires
  • The Fire Triangle
  • Heat transfer
  • Understanding bushfire behaviour and the FDR system
  • A history of bushfire in Australia
Preparing for a bushfire
  • Foundation
  • Getting to know firefighters
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  • Levels 1 - 2
  • Bushfires matter to all Victorians
  • Preparing for the bushfire season
  • Getting to know firefighters
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  • Levels 5 - 6
  • Bushfires matter to all Victorians
  • Preparing for the bushfire season
  • Investigating the importance of bushfire survival plans
  • Getting help to prepare for bushfires
  • Levels 7 - 8
  • Know the risks
  • Closer to home
  • Bushfire survival plans
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Responding to bushfires
  • Foundation
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  • How do we report an emergency to Triple Zero (000)?
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  • Levels 1 - 2
  • Learning what to do in a fire emergency
  • Reporting an emergency to Triple Zero (000)
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  • Levels 5 - 6
  • Facing reality
  • Communicating about bushfire emergencies
  • Safe behaviours
  • Defending the home
  • Levels 7 - 8
  • Know the risks
  • Closer to home
  • Bushfire survival plans
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Responding to bushfires
  • Foundation
  • How do people and places recover from bushfires?
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  • Levels 1 - 2
  • People's feelings after experiencing a bushfire
  • Communities working together for recovery
  • How art helped children with their feelings after a bushfire
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  • Levels 5 - 6
  • Coming to terms with feelings after a bushfire
  • Communities working together for recovery
  • Rebuilding and restoring hope after a bushfire
  • Living with bushfires
  • Levels 7 - 8
  • Like a phoenix rising
  • People recovering from bushfires
  • Sharing stories
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Acknowledgments

The Bushfire Education website draws extensively on the work of the 2009 Victorian Bushfires Royal Commission, and in particular on evidence given to the Commission by experts and lay witnesses whose lives, the Commission notes, were turned upside down by the fires. The VCAA acknowledges and thanks them for their valuable contributions to this resource.

The VCAA would also like to acknowledge the work of the organisations that assisted us in developing and refining this resource, in particular the  

  • Country Fire Authority (Victoria)
  • Metropolitan Fire Brigade (Melbourne)
  • Emergency Management Australia.

Finally, the VCAA express its sincere thanks to all the individuals who have generously permitted the inclusion of their images, stories, and teaching and learning ideas on the website.