There is no need to do all this in one go, chunk it down so they don’t get fed up. Use what you think is useful and add in things you think are really important for your child to learn about crossing the road.
Aim: Learn how to cross the road independently and safely.
- Learn the correct names of things that help us to cross the road safely.
- What are the basic rules for crossing a road.
- Learn to identify what a safe easy place is to cross the road if there is no infrastructure to help.
You: Find some images on the internet of common infrastructure we use to cross the road. Such things as a pelicon crossing (traffic light crossing), zebra crossing, pedestrian islands. There are also other types of crossings in the UK you might want to look at, especially if you travel there occasionally, such things as Toucan crossings, puffin crossings and Equine crossings.
You & your child/ren: Go through the pictures you found on the internet. Ask them the correct names. It’s unlikely they will know the pelicon crossing. (Pelicon is an acronym for Pedestrian light Controlled crossing in case you are thinking I’d spelled it incorrectly:-) ). It would also be a good idea to focus on what each colour means and particularly what it means when the green pedestrian light begins to flash or goes out.
- Come up with a list of advantages and disadvantages to each kind of crossing.
- See if can come up with a list of places locally, they can think of where there is a particular type of crossing.
- Consider at each crossing, should the planners have put a different crossing there or did they choose well and why.
- Can they think of anywhere they believe a crossing should be and why. Help them to write a letter to the planners asking them to consider putting a crossing there with their reasons.
If you have downloaded other examples go through these now. Explain they will find these in other places and so it’s good know about them. A Toucan crossing, the only crossing a cyclist is ‘legally’ allowed to ride their bike across the road. They will know it’s a toucan crossing, as a green bike lights up with a green pedestrian when they can cross. We have one presently in Jersey, any idea where it is? A puffin crossing will usually be found in town centres. They work the same as a pelicon crossing, but they stay on green while there are people on the crossing, once everyone has crossed, the red pedestrian comes on. These can be identified easily as the red and green man are positioned just above the push button on your side of the road, rather than the pelicon which is mounted higher at the opposite side of the road. Equine crossings have two control boxes, one for a pedestrian and one much higher for the horse rider. A picture of a green horse comes up with the green pedestrian when it is time to cross the road.
- Can they think of anywhere in Jersey, where one of these other type of crossings should be used? What reasons do they have for this idea?
- If they can think of changes they would like to see, help them write a letter to the planners to ask for the change.
Basic Rules for Crossing the Road
Because we cross the road every day, we tend to take it for granted and not think about it too much, quite often we get into bad habits that we inadvertently pass on to our children. So it is important that we always set the best example in front of our children. At assemblies, one of my favorite questions, after checking everyone knows how to cross the road has always been, “Okay, what’s the first thing you should do before you cross the road?” Rarely does anyone guess the answer, even children that have heard the question before, even a number of times recall the answer. Many are scratching their heads, knowing they know and then kicking themselves when I tell them the answer.
You and Your Child/ren: Using the internet, ideally go to Google Street View and help your children to find an example of each kind of crossing.
Ask your child/ren, how should we use each type of crossing. The chances are they know the answer. The thing to check is do they have it in the correct order of STOP, LOOK, LISTEN, and when crossing the road keep looking and listening. Ensure they understand the importance of making certain that any moving vehicles are stopping before stepping out onto the crossing, never assume they will. To also check for cyclists that may overtake stationary traffic and not stop for the lights.
Discuss with them:
- Do people always cross the road at these crossings and if not why do they think people don’t use them?
- Do people always follow the rules about crossing the road? Why do they think people take the short cuts?
- Why do they think it is very important that young people do follow the rules.
- Why is it important to cross the road in a straight line and not diagonally?
- What kind of reasons might the traffic not stop.
- Are cyclists legally allowed to ride through red lights or not stop for people crossing at crossings.
Get the children to draw/paint a poster of the different crossings and write a safety message with it. If you don’t mind, display it on the wall somewhere in the house to help remind them of the lesson.
What is a safe place?
You: Go onto Google Street view. Find a couple of examples of a junction where there are no pedestrian facilities to help us to cross the road. Something fairly complicated like the junction at Longueville Manor or the junction by St Martins Church.
You and your child/ren: Explain that there will be times when we want to cross the road and there may not be anything to help us, like a zebra crossing.
Show your child the example from Street View and ask them if it looks like a safe place to cross the road. If they think it is a safe place to cross the road ask them to explain why they think it is safe. Quite often they can’t justify the decision or they will say they would wait for the cars to stop and let them over the road. In this instance, does it look easy to cross the road here if no one stops to let you over the road. Normally they will agree it’s not easy even if they think it’s safe.
Ask them to come up with a list of things that would make it will difficult or dangerous to cross there. The list should include the following, and if they don’t come up with some of the things, help them to discover the answers by asking open questions to help them discover the answers.
- Somewhere you can be seen and be seen
- Somewhere you can clearly see what is happening with traffic
- Somewhere with not too many directions to check, ideally a maximum of two.
- Somewhere where the road isn’t too wide
- Somewhere where the traffic isn’t too fast
- Somewhere where the traffic is not too busy
- Somewhere with a pavement is best
- Somewhere away from junctions.
Explain that the more of these things you find when you want to cross the road, the easier and safer it is.
Ask your child/ren to draw or paint a picture showing an example of a safer place to cross the road or perhaps one that is dangerous to display at home.