We know that traffic safety is a partnership between students, staff and parents and we wanted to find a way to bridge the gap between home and school, while bringing awareness. One of our committee members is from Westboro Elementary. Built in the 1970s when kids could all walk to school because they lived in the local community. Westboro currently serves the immediate subdivision of Westboro, but also the neighbouring ones of Village on the Lake and Broadmoor Estates, as well as the greater Sherwood Park and even Strathcona County areas for the Logos program. As a result, many kids are dropped off and picked up, as walking isn't feasible, especially in the winter. Unfortunately, the school does not have drop off loops like newer schools. It can get very congested at drop off and pick up and parking is at a premium. Another big challenge at Westboro, is parking within 5 metres of the crosswalk. We have worked with them for the past couple of years on this issue and have re-signed some areas and painted lines by the one crosswalk to indicate no parking, however, they are still experiencing an issue by the one crosswalk.
Recognizing that awareness and education can help significantly, we decided to run a pilot project at Westboro.
We printed a letter home as well as some activity ideas for teachers to do with their classes.
We sent home a School Traffic Safety Pledge for parents to read and sign and a 5-metre Challenge for students to do with their parents. They were to find or draw a picture, or to describe in words, what 5 metres would look like. If both were returned, they were entered into a draw for a family pass to Millennium Place (our local recreation centre) which was donated by the school. We also included a Christmas Concert package (1 reserved parking spot and 2 front row seats). The prize itself cost us nothing, but yet, was very desired and so we had a great response! Parents talked about it on the Parent Facebook Group and we received around 100 entries!
The imagination was incredible!
Anthony, Avalyne, Dahlia, Dehiah, Elias, Gavin, Isabel, Kayla, Kevin, Lia/Jacob, Lyndon (in order)
Some other great descriptions of 5 metres:
- 5 Big Daddy Steps, 7.5 Big Grade 3 Steps, 1/2 way across a 2 way street (Hadleigh)
- My little brother is 1 metre tall, so 5 of my little brothers (Dezlinee)
- Our boat (Miel)
- A Minivan (Kaleb)
- 166.7 Lego Blocks (Daniel)
- 5 of my Giant Steps or 33 Beanie Boos end to end (Aiden)
- 13 of my Minion backpacks in a row or 10 of my biggest steps (Avery)
- 6.5 big steps or 71 standing Beanie Boos (Olivia)
- 5000 ladybugs (Nathalie)
- It took me 23 steps to make 5 metres (Adelynn)
- 5 double arm lengths; when we measured it was longer than our couch (Sylvie/Hannah)
A lot of these are subjective - it depends on how long their stride is, or how big their boat is, but the purpose was to raise awareness and to get people talking about it which definitely happened!