Virtual road map gets green light

4th March 2011 at 00:00
A new street safety resource encourages children to think on their feet, reports Julia Belgutay

Finding an innovative way to teach young children about road safety without putting them at risk is a dream for teachers and parents. Pupils in a Renfrewshire primary now have access to an active learning resource that promises just that.

P2 children at Bargarran Primary in Erskine, have just piloted the Streetfeet resource, available on loan to all schools, and principal teacher Julie Paterson says it is "fantastic".

Streetfeet is a vinyl model of a road, with pavements, traffic lights, zebra crossings and even a stick for a lollipop person.

Once it's spread out on the classroom floor, the pupils, dressed in high- visibility vests, try to cross the roads on it and negotiate their way from home to school or the park, while showing their awareness of hazards they encounter.

"The pavements are almost like a photograph, not like a cartoon, which is great," says Ms Paterson. "There are maps with it and you can change the setting and make it more complicated. They can walk to their hearts' content. They have to identify the hazards, and they have a number of different options."

Working with Streetfeet highlighted the importance of road safety education at an age when more pupils would be allowed to walk to school, she said.

"You can see them hesitating and trying to take in all the hazards. They want to get it right. That makes you realise that they still don't have a real road sense yet."

Ms Paterson believes Streetfeet could, with a few adjustments, be used for all primary school ages.

Councillor Marie McGurk, Renfrewshire's roads spokeswoman, says: "This new approach is innovative and really engages the youngsters in teaching them about road safety."

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