Education is a primary component of our mission. Education activities include teaching pedestrian, bicyclist and traffic safety skills that boost students’ personal responsibility, safety, confidence and independence. For example, children may learn pedestrian and bicyclist safety skills in the physical education programs we support in the schools and then get the chance to practice these skills on Bike to School Day. The start of school pedestrian safety educational assembly is closely followed by Walk to School – Walk to Town Day where all students can practice their pedestrian safety skills.
Encouragement activities like Walk and Bike to School Days also offer “teachable moments” to reinforce pedestrian and bicyclist safety education messages. Our volunteer crossing guards help reinforce smart practices like crossing the street in the crosswalk with the light; not texting while crossing the street; not running into an intersection and always looking both ways.
Planning successful Safe Routes to School (SRTS) education activities require considering how children and adults learn best. Children benefit from a combination of educational methods such as group activities, hands-on skill building and discussion. Many of the pedestrian and bicyclist safety skills that children need cannot be taught solely by verbal instruction; they also require practical experience. Hands-on activities such as simulated street crossings and bicycle handling drills provide children with the opportunity to watch and apply safety skills. A parent or instructor walking or bicycling with a child enables the child to learn in a “real world” setting and allows the adult to assess how well the child understands and applies safety skills.
Older students learn best when they feel the topic is relevant to them. Our education aims to engage older students to discover for themselves how to create and promote safe walking and bicycling behaviors and environments for their community and schools. For example, middle school students take part in a video contest to explore a safety theme, like “Texting while Walking: It’s a No-Brainer!” This allows them to explore the topic and come to their own conclusions.
Our Educational Programs include:
- Safety-themed video contest for middle school students
- Bike Skills Classes in physical education class in the middle and intermediate schools
- Start of School Pedestrian Safety Assemblies
- Teen Driving Outreach
- Volunteer Crossing Guards