CHILDREN from Clintyclay Primary School have helped to launch a new road safety project which has been rolled out to over 850 primary schools in Northern Ireland.
The initiative, Journey to School II, is delivered by the community development and training organisation, STEP, based in Dungannon, who secured funding through the DOE Road Safety grant programme administered by the Community Transport Association.
The project is a follow up project to STEP’s 2012 project which involved the production of a booklet “Journey to School – what are the rules?” aimed at primary school children.
The booklet centered on two characters, Maria and Mark and illustrated their safe travel to school using different modes of transport.
The booklets were distributed to 44 primary schools in the Dungannon and South Tyrone Borough Council area.
The new project involves a further story booklet in which teachers and pupils can make decisions on different road safety scenarios Maria and Mark find themselves in.
Additionally, a 48-page teaching resource pack has been distributed which has a number of different key stage 1 and key stage 2 targeted exercises centered on the theme of road safety but using various subjects such as art and drama as a learning vehicle.
The booklets are available in English, Portuguese, Polish, Lithuanian and Russian and copies can be downloaded on the project website www.journeytoschool.com allowing parents and guardians to access the booklet and discuss the road safety issues with their children at home.
Roisin McAliskey from STEP says it is essential for children to have the confidence and knowledge to make appropriate decisions in different safety scenarios.
She continued: “By the development of the teaching pack, schools can select the various exercises that they think will work best within their school environment to deliver road safety messages to their pupils.
“The exercises are designed to generate creativity and practical thinking within the various ages of primary school children and the results of many of the worksheets and exercises will provide colourful displays for the schools.
“By provision of the booklet in some of the more prevalent Migrant Worker languages the project ensures that from a young age children from all language backgrounds have the basic rules of the road on hand in their first language to make life safer for them outside the home.
“Phrases such as “Green Cross code” mean very little to children or adults from another country. The booklets are therefore, a very important educational tool.”
Barry Randall, Principal of Clintyclay Primary School in Clonmore, puts much value on the project:
“Pupils are much more receptive to messages that are taught by pupil-led discussions or by creative exercises and lessons such as those within the teaching resource pack provided in this project. “Both the booklet and the pack allow the important conversations around road safety to commence particularly coming up to the Summer months when children are outside more and need to become aware of the impact of the choices they make.
“We thank STEP and the DOE for developing this project which I’m sure all schools across Northern Ireland will value, welcome and utilise.”
STEP would like to take this opportunity to thank Clintyclay Primary School for their assistance in launching the project, visit www.journeytoschool.com for more details.