Road Safety Week 2018 takes place 7-13 May, and teachers and child-carers are being encouraged to plan activities and take advantage of free resources.
The week, which is coordinated by Brake the road safety charity and supported by QBE Insurance and the NZ Transport Agency, will focus on seat belts and distractions. Brake is calling on educators to help save young lives and raise awareness of key road safety messages by taking part.
Road Safety Week is a great opportunity for teachers, youth workers, and early learning educators to engage children and young people in life-saving lessons and encourage safer, more responsible road use throughout the community. It's an engaging topic with plenty of scope for creative and interactive learning, while also meeting curriculum goals.
Educators can access free electronic resources and guidance to help them get involved. Go to www.roadsafetyweek.org.nz to register to get a free e-action pack. This will include downloadable posters to display during the Week, advice, and case studies of what other educators have done in previous years.
There are also ideas for taking part in the Week on the website, and links to useful resources from other organisations, such as the NZ Transport Agency's education portal.
Every year Brake picks a theme to focus on through its Road Safety Week media campaign. Educators can choose to run their initiative on this theme or any other road safety topic, according to their priorities.
Brake's theme for 2018 is 'Belt on, phone off - make it a habit'. Brake will be urging everyone to play their part in keeping our roads safe, and particularly appealing to drivers to commit to not using a mobile phone when at the wheel, and to drivers and passengers to always wear a seat belt and ensure children are in an appropriate child restraint for their age and size.
This year Brake is encouraging early years educators to hold a Beep Beep! Day, a fun road safety day that teaches key, basic road safety messages to children aged 2-7, and also engages their parents and community.
Primary and secondary educators can find lots of suggestions for activities linked to lessons on the Road Safety Week web pages, from challenging students to devise their own road safety campaign, to learning about road safety as part of science, drama or other lessons.
Brake is also encouraging fundraising as part of Road Safety Week, through Bright Days or other fundraising activities. A Bright Day involves everyone coming in dressed in their brightest clothes in return for a donation to Brake, whilst helping to remind drivers to look out for people on foot or bike. More fundraising ideas can be found at www.brake.org.nz/fundraise.
Caroline Perry, Brake's NZ Director said: "Road safety is a crucial issue for children and parents, and educators can play a key role in helping to reduce the risks children, young people and families face - by teaching road safety and raising awareness of local issues.
"Children and young people all have ideas to contribute on the dangers of roads and solutions for making them safer. Road Safety Week is a great opportunity to help them to speak out about road safety by giving them ownership of their own road safety campaign. Through it they have the opportunity to explore and improve their own safety, while also meeting important curriculum goals. I urge all schools and childcare centres to register today and get your free action pack."
Harry Wilson, Safety and Environment Director, NZ Transport Agency said: "We all need to play a part in keeping our children, friends and family safe on our roads. Failing to wear seatbelts is appearing as a factor in fatal crashes far too frequently. Many of the lives lost and serious injuries sustained could have been prevented simply by ensuring everyone was properly secured in a seat belt or child restraint. It's great to see this is one of the key focuses of this year's Road Safety Week."