Grade 1 students James McRae, Noah Doucette, Lucy Armstrong and Lia Cho at St. Elizabeth Seton School stand in front of a lifesize bus simulation with instructors Michaelle de Ruiter and Odilia Youngman before learning about bus safety Tuesday. Robin Grant/Red Deer Express

Learning safety on school buses

Red Deer Catholic School students are learning the importance of school bus safety this week

Red Deer school kids in pre-kindergarten, kindergarten and Grade 1 Catholic Schools are learning about safety in and around school buses this week.

Kelli Pickett, safety and training coordinator in the Transportation Department at Red Deer Catholic Regional Schools, said the program teaches first-time school bus riders the importance of understanding school bus safety.

The interactive event aims to help students feel more comfortable riding the bus on their first day of school and throughout the school year.

Taking place at St. Elizabeth Seton School, the students participate in a school bus simulation to learn about school bus safety zones, she said.

There are many reasons to instill safety rules and practices around school buses from an early age, according to Pickett.

“It is important to continue to hold transportation events in our schools,” she said in a press release.

“By holding this event at the school, it reminds students that the school bus is an extension of the classroom and we continue to foster safe practices.”

Students learn to stand in the ‘safety zone’ while waiting for the bus, Pickett explained. This is important because the City of Red Deer has bylaws that prohibit school buses from using red flashing lights. Because of this, students learn they cannot cross in front or behind the bus during pick-up and drop-off.

As there are no seat-belts on school buses, Pickett said they explain to the children why there aren’t any and where to sit on a bus to stay safe in case of an accident. The children learn other general safety rules as well.

The program is similar to the national First Rider Program that introduces young children and their parents to school buses and school bus safety. The program is also designed to be a fun and interactive learning experience.

The first session took place Tuesday at St. Elizabeth Seton School from 9:30 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Maryview School students will take part Wednesday, with students from Holy Family School participating Thursday.

All sessions are held at St. Elizabeth Seton School from 9:30 a.m. to 2 p.m.

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