We created a traffic park in order to develop pedagogical strategies for promoting safe mobility that will help children at the Cañaverales International School, as well as the children from the other schools in Yumbo.
Car accidents are one of the main problems facing public health worldwide. In Cali this is one of the main causes of death amongst teenagers and young adults. According to the Annual Analysis of Accidents and Mortality Due to Car Accidents, in Cali, in 2016, out of 319 deaths 44% were 14 to 34 year olds; studying the hours in which these accidents happened and the causes, 62% occurred at night and were due to high speeds and alcohol. This newsletter was presented as an invitation to the project, which our students used to inquire about the traffic rules in Colombia, along with previous newsletters, news reports in the country’s newspapers and insurance companies, such as SURA.
Our starting point began with questions such as: Is it because there is no education of traffic rules? Are adults and young people taking courses on road safety education? Are parents not being conscious enough when they give their children a car without having a license?
The common thread to these answers was found in the traffic code, law 33 of 2002, which says: “It is mandatory to teach the traffic rules and road safety rules in preschool, elementary and high school.” But not many schools comply with teaching road safety projects for many reasons, which we have noted in our presentation:
• Infrastructure (not enough space to construct a traffic safety educational park at the school)
• Cost (the price of constructing and designing a traffic safety educational park is $5.000.000 COP)
• Curriculum (teachers focus on other topics)
• Lack of leadership from the schools; etcetera
In our city there is only one traffic safety education park with a staff that goes to the schools in order to give information and workshops. This makes it almost impossible to get an appointment with the park or even to get them to visit our school; for this reason, and considering the school’s infrastructure, after a brainstorming session our 9th grade students from the Cañaverales International School proposed to fully adapt the car track at the preschool into an educational traffic safety park for the children in preschool and elementary, and also, for it to be available as a service to other schools, as part of the CAS in the IB Program.
The students carried out series of activities:
1. Collecting funds for the expenses needed for the park with an activity done on Valentine’s Day.
2. Painting the park as part of a collaborative project.
3. Parent-student activities with the students in kindergarten.
4. Designing and printing the traffic road signs for the park.
5. Inviting the preschool and elementary children to get to know what the park is and its usefulness.
6. Inviting children from other schools to get to know the proposal.
7. Creating a blog about traffic rules.
The traffic educational park has been received with great excitement by our students (see video 2); “It was a long needed project in this community and in our school particularly”, was a general comment among the parents. From all points of view the opinions have been very favorable. The young children have received the park with joy and interest as their new playground. In middle school it is now being used for various social studies projects. It is only the beginning for this great project; from now on, it will be used not just for teaching traffic signs or about the types of lines painted in the roads, but it also brings us together as a community, feeling a commitment to protect and preserve the park, and use it with future generations.
We can see how important this project has been for the children when we see them riding in their cars with their parents, explaining to the adults what each one of the traffic signs means and the importance of following them. They have started telling their parents not to go through red lights. Our students are now the traffic controllers and regulators, playing a role in the city that was vacant before. Middle school and high school students are the most conscious ones when it comes to road safety. They claim that before doing his project they thought they knew what road safety was; now they definitely feel sure that they know the importance it has.
The impact on the community is evident in the happiness of the little children when they arrive at our school and see the traffic park. We explain to them the signs, and they enjoy the games where they role play being traffic police officers, motor vehicle officials and pedestrians. We really feel awesome getting involved in this work since we are contributing to the building of positive social behavior by teaching the IB attributes at a very young age.
For our group it has been quite an experience to be able to help and make a significant contribution to reduce life threatening situations that we experience in our city. This park is an infrastructure that can have a significant value and use for our community by preventing accidents and deaths that happen every day in Cali. We are very conscious of the need we have to educate our youth because they are the ones passing on this education to their elders. We will keep this project going as an activity linked to CAS and an ABP Project for kinder. In primary it was taken up by the area of social studies as a compulsory subject in all grades, and in middle and high school it will be retaken with workshops in all the grades, as well. We are very happy about having had this opportunity and dearly thank Renault for stimulating and promoting this king of projects.