New Zealand has guidelines for education outside the classroom (EOTC) that support schools to take advantage of the community and environment beyond the school gates and thereby bring the national curriculum alive. While teaching and learning are the main focus for EOTC, safety is another paramount principle of EOTC programmes. Safety has not always been the priority that it is now, as notions of safety have changed over time. Taking a position that meaning-making occurs in social contexts, the article presents some etymological shifts in meanings about safety, and reviews how the changes contributed to primary school EOTC policy and curriculum, considering historical and current trends in thinking about safety.
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