Teaching About Strangers: Lessons in Safety for Children

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Children are taught to be friendly and courteous to others. Then there comes a time when we must teach them about strangers and the importance of “not talking” to people you do not know. With all of this confusion how can we as teachers help the students understand safety precautions to take with strangers? This lesson will provide you with ideas and tips to incorporate a stranger safety lesson plan into the classroom. You may want to send out a letter of intent for the parents or guardians of the students regarding the lesson and what they will be learning. You can even ask the parents to please reinforce this safety lesson at home.

The Lesson

1. Ask students if they know what a stranger is. It may come to a surprise to the teacher that some children have not been taught about what to do regarding strangers. This is a great time to allow for peer talk. As the children are so young still it may be easier to hear a definition of a stranger from a classmate. This also gets the students involved and participating in discussion.

2. Tell the students that you will be reading a book today called:

“The Berenstain Bears Learn About Strangers” by Stan & Jan Berenstain

3. After reading the book here are some questions to pose to the students:

  • What is a stranger?
  • Why was Sister Bear so confused as to who she could or could not talk to?
  • Have you ever felt confused about who you can and can not talk to?
  • Do you think it was a good idea to not get in the car?
  • Would you have gotten in the car with the man with the plane?
  • Has anyone ever tried to get you into a car or a place you did not know?

4. Have students discuss who is and who is not a stranger. The teacher can state various people and have the students each take turns stating if they are a stranger or not a stranger. Some examples are:

  • Mom
  • Dad
  • Babysitter
  • Postal Worker (tricky one because they are strangers but if parents are friendly and say hello to postal worker then students can say hello only if mom and dad are with them. They are still strangers though)
  • Man you have never seen in the park

5. Go over rules of what to do if a stranger does approach a student:

  • Always stay with mom and dad when out
  • If a stranger does come up to you (for instance in a park) run away to mom or dad. If they try to grab you scream, kick, and even bite.
  • If a stranger comes to school, friend’s house, park, etc. to pick you up and you have seen them before. Ask the person what is the secret word. (Have students go home and make up or choose a secret word with mom and dad which only they will know.) If the stranger does not know the word then do not go with them.
  • Always know your home address, phone number, and names of both mom and dad. Practice this with them students in class.

After this lesson students should know more about strangers and stranger safety.