Gainmara Birrilee Preschool

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Gainmara Birrilee Preschool is in Brewarrina, North Western NSW. For the past forty years this preschool has provided an important service to children and families and is an integral part of the Brewarrina community. Educators use children’s daily journeys as the focus for teaching and learning experiences to support safe travel practices in the community and to highlight road safety messages for families.

 

 

Educators implement relevant, community-centred learning experiences to promote safe travel practices by children and families. Together with the children they created a large, multimedia wall map of their local community highlighting important places including their homes, local landmarks, shops, community organisations and schools. Children’s awareness and knowledge of their community were proudly displayed. There were many conversations about how the children travelled safely around town, where they walked and whose hand they held. Children added road signs to their map showing safe places to cross the road and where cars had to stop, giveway or turn.

Map-making is a meaningful tool for literacy development as children communicate both orally and visually about the world around them. This assists in building connections with people and place that are crucial to developing children’s sense of belonging in their community.

Pedestrian signs and symbols including the Kids and Traffic ‘Hold my hand’ gate sign image are a great way to start conversations about the importance of always holding a grown-up’s hand and finding safe places to cross the road.

Community walks provide great opportunities for children to discuss, draw or take photos of local landmarks to include in your community wall map.
Ask families to email photos of their homes and the places they like to visit and add these to your map.
Use photos of each child holding a grown-up’s hand as props to use with the map so children can tell their own stories about where they walk while safely holding hands.

 

Using their community map as inspiration, Gainmara Birrilee educators and children worked with Kids and Traffic to develop their own song version of “Here We Go Walking Holding Hands” and community specific book.

 

Book cover

Click to view Gainmara Birrilee Preschool’s book

Photos of landmarks, buildings and places in the community along with the song were included in the book. Creating this resource added the relevance and meaning of pedestrian safety messages for children, educators and families.

Educators were able to read – or sing – the story with children as they pretended to travel safely through Brewarrina. They used each photo to emphasise the importance of always holding a grown-up’s hand, no matter where children were walking in town. Children enthusiastically talked about their walking journeys, who they held hands with, who they saw and what they did to keep safe. The preschool’s book, ‘Here we go walking out and about in Brewarrina’, also provided educators with an engaging way to share Key Pedestrian Safety Messages with families.

Use this book as inspiration for creating your own ‘Here We Go Walking Holding Hands’ book using photos to represent your local community. Create your own e-book and share with families via email or print some extra copies for them to borrow.

 

GBBus1Many children catch the preschool bus each day. Educators make the most of the time they spend with the children on the bus and use this real life opportunity to talk with them about passenger safety. Educators ensure children are safely buckled up and emphasise the importance of always being buckled up safely in their child car seats, awake or asleep, no matter where they are going, whose vehicle they are in or the type of road they travel on. Educators also share these messages with families through conversations and  positive modelling as children are dropped back home each day.

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Educators talked with the Kids and Traffic team about ways to integrate passenger safety experiences with the children into their daily routine to share the Key Road Safety Messages with families. By including regular passenger safety experiences, safe journeys on the preschool bus and also in family vehicles when out and about were encouraged.

 

Do children travel to and from your service by bus? Do you use a bus when taking children on excursions? If so, use these journeys to discuss safe passenger practices with children and families. Refer to our Kids and Traffic info sheet on safely transporting children in buses for more information.

 

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Kids and Traffic, together with educators, created a Gainmara Birrilee preschool bus prop for use with their community map.  The prop was a great addition to the map as children could dramatise their safe journeys to and from preschool, and educators were able to highlight the Key Passenger Safety Message ‘Always buckle up safely’ with the children.

Children’s drawings were used to create character props. Velcro dots were added to each character so they could be easily moved between the bus and map.

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‘Five Happy Travellers’, a chant developed by Kids and Traffic added another dimension to this experience. Educators used the preschool bus with the character props and this passenger safety chant to discuss passenger safety in a community context.

Experiences like this provide valuable musical and numeracy learning opportunities. They can enhance children’s understanding of various elements of music such as tempo, beat and rhythm, and extend their numeracy concept development as well.

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The passenger safety focused teaching and learning experiences implemented at the preschool motivated educators to keep thinking about new strategies to help families keep children safe when travelling. By talking with local council staff about road safety concerns within the community, Gainmara Birrilee Preschool Director, Frayne, hopes to increase the safety of children whenever they are out and about in Brewarrina.

Transport for NSW supports the Local Government Road Safety Officer Program. Road Safety Officers often arrange campaigns and local projects around child road safety issues. Contact your local council to see if there is a Road Safety Officer in your area who can help to make your community a safer place.

 

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