Thesis Series: Engaging Children and Youth, Via K-12 School Curricula, to Build a Culture of Disaster Preparedness


NPS-CHDS master’s graduate Kimberly Hayward (MA1803/1804), Community Preparedness Officer at FEMA, talks about her thesis where she analyzes how to engage children and youth to facilitate behavioral change and build a culture of disaster preparedness. She creates a comparative analysis of primary and secondary school curricula for disaster preparedness content, including case studies from the United States, France, and New Zealand, and establishes a set of evaluation criteria, including curriculum scope; engaged learning; parental, school, and community involvement; and effective evaluation. Her thesis finds that the United States could improve and expand existing curricula, such as the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s Student Tools for Emergency Planning program, and work to integrate disaster preparedness curricula into existing school safety and mandatory public health curriculum requirements. By reaching children and youth with disaster preparedness information, the United States can work to shift values and social norms around the topic, similar to past successes seen with such issues as anti-smoking and seat belt enforcement.

Alternate Location:

Kimberly Hayward​’s thesis is available in the HSDL


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