105 Prairie Waters Elementary School Grade 2 students learning proper bike safety
– When it comes to the Police, it’s all about safety. Safety on the roads, safety around your neighbourhood, so who better to teach safety to 105 Grade 2 students? Grade 2′s just suck up information given to them in school, and when you have someone held in high regard like the RCMP, they listen with intensity. Listening and hanging on to every word from a police officer is one thing but you have to put all that knowledge into practice. Constable Matt Thurston of the local RCMP detachment in Chestermere was first on the scene June 26, at the Prairie Waters Elementary School in Westmere. Arriving by bike, he surveyed the site and began to layout plan in a rather small area in the schools parking lot. The equipment he brought was his bike, a roll of police barrier tape and some diagrams and descriptions of the 5 learning stations each of the 105 Grade 2 students would ride through the maze of pylons. The students would be divided into two groups of approximately 50 kids. First thing Constable Thurston did was call for backup. Then he began to tie off an area around the concrete bollards and steel light posts, over the sidewalk and a quick wrap around a tree or two and he’s done. Next up was an overview to the 12 volunteers who have taken time out of their busy day to help out manning each station and who would offer words of encouragement and direction for improvement to the kids. Well, we’re set, and here come the kids. Fifty bikes, some bikes from the children participating, some borrowed and most importantly shared with the other classmates. Many of the children are bused into the school so this meant the bikes had to arrive and be picked up afterwards at the school by other means than the buses the kids travel on. ” BIG thanks to the parents for helping out this way” said Jenn Krawetz one of the Grade 2 teachers at Prairie Waters. Jenn went on to say that there are not a lot of things out there for Grade 2 students so when the idea of a bike rodeo was presented to her she jumped at the chance to do it. “Many of the kids do in line skating or skateboarding so to expose them to bikes and the safety they’ll need to know is a great opportunity”. Just before the start, the RCMP backup team, consisting of Constables Shane Fletcher and Mak Jubiyev, arrived on the scene. They too assisted in making sure the bike helmets, which were mandatory, fit perfectly on each child. If they didn’t, each student received individual attention to ensure the helmets were adjusted properly and were comfortable to wear. Grade 2′ers don’t really care about what their hair looks like after wearing a helmet I’m told. Five stations, 50 kids, the division of the group is quite easily set and the training begins. Luckily there was enough separation between the stations so the kids were not having any head on collisions but there are times when it’s close. Bike road safety is one thing but another big added value is the relationship building between the police and the kids, “it’s invaluable” one parent said. “They would like to see more bike patrols in the parks and pathways from the RCMP”. This was the 1st year for this program and unfortunately the rain didn’t hold off long enough for the second class to have the outdoor training; it was held indoors. They learned a lot this day and the hope is that this bike safety training remains with them into the summer and throughout their adulthood.