Walk this Way…to Stay Safe & Healthy!

May 31, 2016

EZ Ride’s  Safe Routes to School team visited the Amerigo A. Anastasia Elementary School on May 17th and May 18th and the Gregory Elementary school on May 23rd , 26th and 31st in Long Branch.  We met with 242 1stand 2nd graders to teach them about Pedestrian Safety during 10 PE classes.

Walking was introduced as a good and healthy way to begin each school day.  Kids were informed they need 60 minutes a day of moderate to vigorous physical activity to maintain their weight and stay healthy.  They were encouraged to see walking to and from school as a fun and easy way to get part of that daily exercise.    We shared that walking can be fun because it’s something that can be done with parents and siblings and it‘s a chance to talk with friends.   We taught kids that pedestrians are anybody who uses the sidewalks or roads to travel. In other words, pedestrians can be joggers, bicyclists, roller skaters, people in wheelchairs, or those who use skateboards or hover boards.

The Safe Routes to School team also shared research findings that students who start the day with at least 20 minutes of exercise do well in school because they are fully awake and they have better concentration, memory, and perform better on tests.

Students were taught the four basic rules for walking safety using a colorful and child-friendly visual presentation. These rules are:

  1. Stop…completely at street corners and stay on the sidewalk.
  2. Look…at pedestrian traffic signals to see if it is ok to cross. Look left, right and left again before crossing.  Look at stopped drivers and make eye contact to make sure they are aware you want to cross the street.
  3. Listen…to make sure it is safe and no emergency vehicles or speeding cars are coming.
  4. Think…about how to stay safe. This could include dressing in bright colors to be seen, using crosswalks, obeying signals and traffic laws. Watch out for friends to make sure they are safe too.

Last, we got the kids up to practice the lessons on a mini roadway and get some of their daily physical activity. Kids were shown a “do not cross” (red hand) signal and asked what to do.  They knew the right answer was to stop on the corner and wait.  Then when the signal changed, they were reminded to look both ways, listen, make eye contact with drivers, and think about if the situation was safe.  When they felt comfortable that it was safe, the students crossed the pretend street in the crosswalk.  Then as a large group, we all got up to exercise.  We speed walked, skipped, jogged and hopped around the gym several times and each time we stopped at the crosswalk to practice looking both ways before crossing.

For more info about the Safe Routes to School team at EZ Ride/Meadowlink, please contact Lisa Lee at 201-939-4242 or [email protected]. We serve schools and towns in Monmouth, Bergen, Essex, Passaic and Union Counties.