How to successfully implement the EASST Road Safety Education Pack
The EASST Road Safety Education pack provides stimulating and engaging activities to introduce road safety messages and behaviours to kids.
The topics in each section vary according to the target age group, but they all relate to the key principles, helping teach road safety in a variety of formal and informal educational settings.
In it’s pilot phase, the Road Safety Education Pack has been used to train over 10,000 children across the EASST region. In the Chania municipality of Crete – where EASST partners Make Roads Safe Hellas have been using the pack since 2014 – it was voted the number 1 initiative by local teachers in 2016 and is now being used to train children in Athens.
Below, we have taken the exceptional examples set by Make Roads Safe Hellas to provide an easy step-by-step guide to successfully implementing the Education Pack.
1. Get backing from authorities
As the project involved working with local pre-schools, elementary and high schools, collaboration with the Municipality of Chania, the Primary Education Department of the Perefecture of Crete and the Ministry of Education was essential.
Following a formal application to the Ministry of Education, various meetings and presentations of the Education Pack’s contents, the authorities agreed that the material was extremely important and educational.
Use of the Pack in schools was approved – and the Municipality of Chania even agreed to pay half of the printing costs of the Pack for use in public schools.
In 2016, approval was given to approach one third of all schools in Chania. In 2017, the Municipality gave approval for every pre-school in Chania to receive road safety education.
While backing from the authorities is usually necessary for working in schools, the Education Pack is also perfect for working in more informal education settings as well such as at youth clubs and summer camps so don’t let this put you off.
2. Keep it age-appropriate
It is vital that road safety is taught in different ways to different ages. Children’s ability to understand the information, respond to it and act upon it varies depending on age so it is very important to get away from a ‘one size fits all approach’ to road safety education.
For this reason, the Education Pack is split into three sections targeted at under 6s, 6-11 year olds and 12-14 year olds.
For children under six years old, the focus should be on awareness of the dangers of traffic, introducing them to the issues and helping them explore the ideas raised.
Between the age six and eleven years old, children mature significantly. Therefore, you need to adapt session depending on the age of children taking part. Younger children can be encouraged to think about safe choices, but at this age they should not be making choices on their own. Experts suggest that children under 8 struggle with judging speed and distance and are still developing eyesight and hearing.
Young people aged between 12 and 14 can be hard to engage as they will already know a lot about basic safety messages and may feel road safety is an issue just for younger children. However, this is a vital age group to target. The risks change at this age for several reasons. Teenagers are more likely to test the boundaries than younger age groups, and are less able to assess risk than adults. In addition, they are likely to overestimate their abilities and be influenced to take risk by their peers.
3. Make all sessions as interactive as possible
Everyone learns best and can relate more easily when subjects are made relevant to their day-to-day lives. The most successful training will closely relate to the children’s own experiences and will use local examples.
Too often road safety teaching focuses on issues that are not relevant to children. So don’t focus on speed limits or technical requirements! You should use child focused examples and scenarios that they can relate to such as journeys to school, trips out with friends etc.
Make Roads Safe Hellas told us how they have created interactive tools that give children an opportunity to learn from real life road situations and develop crucial critical thinking skills.
“We have created a Pedestrian Crossing Carpet, this was just homemade using a basic floor mat and white sticky tape! But it enables children to practice crossing the road in a safe environment.
The children are each given image cards depicting different vehicles or road users and they have to act out these different roles. They then take it in turns to act as the ‘pedestrians’ who need to cross the road safely. We made a CD of traffic noises for the background. The aim was to get young children to learn how to stop, look and listen for traffic.
We also made a Magnetic Traffic Board. We bought a cheap board from a craft shop along with magnets and foam boarding to make the magnetic figures. One by one children are encouraged to place a magnetic road-safety related figure on the board where they think it should go. For older children, we put the figures in places that are “wrong” – for example, a motorcycle parked on a pavement – and ask the children to find the errors and correct them.”
MRSH are happy to provide instructions and templates for their activities. Please get in touch to find out more.
It is also important that children get to practice the skills they have learned on real roads. When they are ready, you could take them out in small carefully supervised groups to help them to get real life experience crossing roads and recognising hazards.
4. Involve parents/ carers
In addition to teaching the children, it is vital to include and involve parents with road safety teaching. Children will be influenced by the behaviour of their parents. The Education Pack includes a letter for parents them that makes them aware of what the children have learned and how they can reinforce these messages.
Many EASST partners have developed brochures and training sessions aimed at parents focusing on issues such as the use of child restraints and how they too can raise awareness of good road behaviours among their children.
MRSH have spoken to a number of parents of the children they have trained and heard encouraging stories of children reminding their parents to fasten their seat belts and not use their mobile phones while driving as a result of their lessons!
5. Don’t forget to train teachers too
The EASST Road Safety Education Pack is in its essence a resource for teachers.
Educators can protect children by teaching life-saving messages and skills. Making young people aware of the risk and providing them with strategies to remain safe are important parts of their development.
Each section of the Education Pack provides age-appropriate road safety teaching resources, along with introductory notes, lesson plans and advice for teachers and group leaders.
Training teachers in using the Road Safety Education Pack, and providing copies to schools is vital to ensure children can receive road safety training year after year.
The Road Safety Education Pack is a highly flexible resource that can be adapted to circumstance. You need not teach it all nor work from beginning to end. Each exercise is entirely self-contained – so you can do one or all of them. You can do them in any order, pick the ones that fit the time available or choose the ones that you feel will most appeal to your group.
It is suitable for formal and informal education. It can be adapted to fit the time available.
It is a self-contained Pack and does not assume access to any resources beyond a printer.
6. Evaluate your success!
It’s so important that you don’t miss or forget this step. Knowing what impact you are having is crucial to knowing how well your training is working and whether you need to tweak or amend what you are doing. As well as being able to prove that what you are doing is actually making a difference and saving lives!
Evaluating the children’s knowledge should not be onerous – and should not revolve around tests on technical road rules but relate to the simple key messages in the Pack. A quick assessment of what children think of the roads around where they live and a survey of their knowledge of good road behaviour both before and after the training can provide good valuable information.
DOWNLOAD THE EASST ROAD SAFETY EDUCATION PACK
The EASST Road Safety Education pack has been designed specifically so that it can be easily adapted into bespoke local versions.
The Pack is flexible enough that we can change the names and idiom of the activities to reflect local circumstances. It’s even possible to adapt the illustrations to reflect ethnic and geographical differences in other regions of the world.
We can also help with developing a country specific ‘Road Safety Education Pack’ logo as well as adding additional organisation or sponsor logos.
For versions in different languages or to find out how you can tailor the Pack to your local needs, get in touch.