Helping children learn about safer choices and behaviours is a big part of Senior Constable Kevin Marshall’s job in Napier, and he says the involvement of teachers and parents makes for better outcomes.
“We’ve got the expertise, the knowledge around current practice and legislation, and through that we can help teachers create relevant age-related learning experiences for students.”
Kevin helps teachers create tailored lessons in pedestrian, cycle and passenger safety. He gets ready early each morning, and soon heads out to schools where the action takes place – training school patrols and wardens, or taking classes through cycle safety lessons.
Effective learning takes good partnerships, he says.
“We can’t do this on our own. The programme needs to be supported by schools, and parents need to model good road safety behavior too.”
He says it is important that parents follow the same good practices near roads that their children learn at school, to avoid mixed messages. In fact, he suggests parents ask their children to model safe practices so the whole family learns together.
“When you get to a road crossing, let your children lead you across using the practices they learn at school. It’s a shared learning experience if they make the time to let that happen.”
Knowing more about each school’s unique setting and student needs means Kevin can find the right approach and pull on his collection of education resources. He’ll work with principals on a school profile through which particular road safety concerns are identified. What’s more, a stronger relationship can develop if a member of staff takes specific responsibility for road safety education.
“Our delivery should reflect the requirements of that school community and it can also be linked to our intel and what Police perceive to be a need in that area,” says Kevin. He enjoys seeing the results.
“It’s great seeing the changes in the children who participate in the programme, their ability levels and competence at riding a bike or crossing a road.”
Teacher Margaret Grant at Onekawa Primary School works with Kevin to teach cycle skills to Year 5 students. She says his positive relationship with students reinforces their learning.
“It’s great to have him come in and have that police presence. There’s a good response, with the children seeing him in a positive light.”
Margaret says most children know the basics of riding a bike, but the programme builds their knowledge and skills for safe cycling on the streets. Kevin’s help ranges from supplying equipment for skills courses through to helping the children reflect on what they learn.