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Teaching discussion ideas to accompany Where is Rubber Duckee?

Where is Rubber Duckee was introduced into Early Childhood Centres in the early 2000s. It is has relevant now as it was then. The messages remain consistent that adults must create safe environments in and around the home and provide constant and vigilant supervision of children at all times around water. 

Where is Rubber Duckee? has been written to help early childhood educators generate discussions about water safety with children in their care.

Teachers, as you share the story it is suggested that questions are asked such as ‘What do you do at the beach?’ and ‘Who do you go swimming with’ as a way to promote discussion.

Download Where is Rubber Duckee here.

Page 2

At the beginning of the story Raki Duckling has just come home from the beach:

  • Encourage the children to share their experiences of playing at the beach and in the sand
  • Try to build their confidence about playing safely and having fun at the beach

You might ask the children:

  • Did you see lifeguards at the beach?
  • What were they doing?
  • Were the waves big?
  • Who did you go into the sea with?
  • Who did you go to the beach with?

Use this opportunity to reinforce these safety points for children when at the beach:

  • Make sure you are with a grown-up
  • Never go into the sea alone
  • Always swim between the flags
  • Never wander off by yourself. Stay with your whanau
  • Tell a grown-up if you are cold

You could talk about having a nice warm bath to warm up and this neatly segueways into discussing bath safety:

  • A grown-up should always be with you when you have a bath and must stay with you for the duration
  • When an adult runs that water, they should put the cold in first then the hot. Only when the right temperature is got, then you are allowed in
  • Be careful getting in and out of the bath so you do not slip
  • Sitting on a non-slip bathmat is a good idea
  • Have fun in the bath – parents, plastic cups, bath toys and bubbles make baths fun for your young ones

Page 3

Where is Raki’s rubber duckee? Discuss with the children what Mother Duck must do now:

  • Should she go looking for Rubber Duckee?
  • Why and why not?
  • What does she do?
  • Explain to the children that grown-ups shouldn’t leave you alone when you are in the bath ignoring the doorbell and phone
  • Get the children to practice walking like a duck and they can join in with the line in the book that features throughout the story
  • Talk about how it is good to get everything you need before bathing you
  • Talk about potential water hazards around the home, like nappy buckets which should have tight fitting lids

Page 4

  • Paddling pools should be folded up and have no water in them when they are not in use. Discuss the reasons why

Page 5

  • Pools should be fenced and have a self-locking gate. Discuss the reasons why

Page 7

  • If a grown up opens a pool gate, they should stay with the child inside the pool area
  • The water in a pool is so inviting for little ones, especially when the sun is shining. Why not put together a list of blue things like water?
  • Talk to the children about not going swimming alone. Talk about why Delia Duckling returns to Mother Duck. Encourage the children to talk to a grown-up and tell me that it is ok to ask for help
  • Reinforce the idea that grown-ups will not leave a child in the bath alone. Reinforce this on this page.

Page 8

Here are some questions to ask about this page:

  • Where does Delia Duckling put her togs? This is particularly good to reinforce that children don’t go swimming without their togs on. Say that you must always wear your togs when swimming and this will calm the child hopefully and stop them jumping into the water unprepared as they equate togs with swimming
  • Tell the children not to run near a pool. Discuss the reasons why this is safe
  • Delia Duckling can swim. Talk about how it is a great thing to be able to swim. Highlight the point that Delia is swimming with Snooty Swan and that you should never swim by yourself
  • Delia Duckling uses this opportunity in the book to practice her leg kicks. Talk about swimming practice and how the more you practice the better you get
  • Discuss all the fun things you can do at the pool. Empathise that everyone needs and should learn to swim and enjoy the water safely

Page 10

  • When Raki gets out of the bath discuss that baths should take too long or you will get cold and the bath plug should be stored on a shelf – out of reach – when it is not being used
  • Water is fascinating. The feather going round and down the plughole – start a discussion about currents, tides and rips and finally,
  • Start some water play featuring things that float and sink. Talk about each and individual item.

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