“It is the real stories, the sharing of experiences that generate change in youth.”
Senior Constable Marnie Worth supported Blomfield Special School students last year, when they shot a video about safe cycling.
The students and their teachers were runners-up in the 2012 NZ Transport Agency’s primary years competition, and the prize included a video workshop with professional educators. Marnie says she adapted her approach to cycle skills training to meet student needs, and helped them focus on learning to stop safely.
It was a rewarding experience, she says. And Marnie often has similar feelings after working with groups from preschoolers to teenagers.
“It’s always rewarding because no child is the same as another, whether they have special needs or not. You make progress at their level, get them to explore transport and have those conversations to transfer information about staying safe.”
Marnie uses her experiences of policing rural highways to help teenagers understand the reality of the choices they face on our roads. Giving children and young people both the knowledge and practical experience to understand the rules and boundaries of safe road use helps them take ownership over issues they’ll face. Tapping into young people’s sense of belonging is a key to her work.
“I believe that the way to educate children of all ages is to engage with them in a way that makes them want to be on your team, the law-abiding team.”
She encourages young people to consider three important questions to help them make sound choices.
“We always ask them those questions – do you feel okay about this situation, would someone who cares for you be happy with what you are doing, and would you be able to get help if you need it?”