Skip to content

Access keys for

  • h Home
  • m Menu
  • 0 Show list of access keys
  • 2 Skip to content
  • 3 Skip to top

Cartoon of adult and children walking to school.

This is an overview of road safety education in the junior years of primary school.

Children at this age begin to understand safe behaviours around road and rail environments but they are:

  • still developing their peripheral vision, hearing and judgement for both the speed and the distance of oncoming vehicles and trains
  • small in stature and not easily seen by drivers
  • unpredictable and easily distracted and may impulsively cross the road or railway without looking or listening for vehicles or trains.

Parents, whānau, caregivers and teachers will:

  • talk about and model safe behaviours on and near roads and railways
  • always supervise children on and near roads
  • reduce their driving speed to 20km/h or less when passing a stationary school bus and will follow variable or fixed speed limit signs when near a school
  • show children how to cross the road and railway and continue to supervise them
  • check children are always wearing an approved and properly fitted child car restraint before the adult starts a car
  • encourage children to identify safety hazards as pedestrians, passengers and cyclists
  • ensure children take their backpack off on the school bus
  • ensure children wear helmets when cycling or scooting and only use footpaths.


The primary learning process involves children:

  • experiencing safe road and rail environments and both describing and practising explicit safety procedures
  • reviewing how they contribute to their own safety around roads and railways
  • sorting and using data to describe safe and unsafe behaviours around roads and railways
  • using effective communication techniques to inform others of safety practices around their road and rail environment
  • exploring decision-making strategies to use when travelling to and from school.


Tamariki share safety stories

Case study

Year 1-8 tamariki in several kura worked with their kaiako and publishing professionals to create picture books about safe travel in their community.

Students contributed to the text, took photos, created artwork and developed storyboards and mock-ups. The final outcomes are picture books owned and published by each kura.

At Wilford School, Rongo is the class teddy for bilingual Year 1-2 students. Tamariki chose to feature him in their book with a message to whānau about finding a safe parking spot.

Kaiako Cherie Toatoa says the book project was a catalyst for students to investigate safety in local streets.

“We already had an authentic problem so I invited in the community police officer and she had a kōrero to my kids about road safety. We took them for a walk around the block and looked at some of the dangers.”

Pukapuka pikitia (the picture books)

Bike track spurs deep learning

Case study

Makaraka School, Gisborne, gained its bike track and bike fleet in 2017 thanks to Bikes in Schools. The 130-odd students ride bikes during PE and other times.

Principal Hayden Swann says the bike track provides a long-lasting resource for the school’s curriculum, which emphasises learning through adventure and risk analysis.

For example, the Year 4-5 class led by teacher Mihi Hannah used bike track experiences as the basis for science investigations. Group projects covered safety aspects of the track, from comparing braking distances to testing mirrors for a better view at a track junction.

“The most important thing for students is to learn through their experiences, through a context, and bike riding was right in front of our eyes,” she says.

“Bikes feature all these accessible elements of science like forces and motion in a way that kids can relate to in their investigations. They were able to really take the time and analyse what they had — and that’s part of being a scientist.”

BikeReady curriculum resource

Next page:

Checklist: road safety in Years 5-8

Top Feedback