Schools on track to spread road safety message

St Gertrude’s Catholic Primary School Smithfield students brushed up on their pedestrian safety knowledge as part of Road Rules Awareness Week from 8-14 April.

It was a timely message for the community after a 12 year-old was hit by a car in Fairfield after running onto the road at a nearby school less than two weeks ago.

Students designed and displayed posters around the school dedicated to different road safety messages, in a preview of lessons planned for next term. Each focused on traffic rules, the awareness that is needed to be a safe pedestrian and car passenger, and how to avoid road risks.

Sydney Catholic Schools’ Education Officer: Special Projects, Andrew Sortwell, said the public education campaign to highlight NSW road rules and improve pedestrian and traffic safety was a valuable one.

Parents and carers can also play an important role in road safety education

– Andrew Sortwell

“Sydney Catholic Schools views road safety as an important component of education to support students to be safe and promote wellbeing,” he said.

“Current and new PDHPE teaching practices include an emphasis on reinforcing positive self-esteem, perceived self-efficacy, resistance to peer pressure and self-control, and help students to develop positive road use behaviours.”

“Parents and carers can also play an important role in road safety education. Children learn by observation and the behaviour of those they see most frequently, so parents can promote road-safe behaviour by modelling positive pedestrian and driving behaviour.”

Lachlan Calleija and Emma Thomson spot the safe drivers and pedestrians in a Road Rules Awareness Week resource.

Other schools across the archdiocese we encouraged to be involved in raising awareness, and select teachers were given a half-day in which to prepare lessons and organise activities.

Classroom teacher Leah Camarsh from Our Lady Queen of Peace Catholic Primary School Gladesville said it was important to her that these feel real and relevant to students, so she organised a walk around their community to identify hazards, drama and technology-based activities, and a visit from a local police officer.

“We also had an assembly that educated the whole school community including parents about some of the issues that affect kids of this age,” she said. “We had students on scooters and bikes in the playground so that was really fun.”

“We certainly wanted road safety to be a topic of conversation throughout the week, and to make it engaging by doing activities that were a little out of the box – for example, going for a walk around the school rather than just talking about it.”

We certainly wanted road safety to be a topic of conversation throughout the week, and to make it engaging

– Leah Camarsh

Students were quick to share some of the road safety tips they’d picked up throughout the week.

“You have to know about road safety to be safe,” said Year 2 student Emma Thomson. “When we cross the road we have to eyeball the driver, so the driver knows you’re there and if they’re looking down you don’t go yet, because then they can’t see you.”

“And never get out of the car in the middle of the road,” advised classmate Lachlan Calleija.

“If you get out, a car could come, and it wouldn’t be expecting you and might hit you,” said Emma.

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