As part of our Safe Routes to School Tucson Program, we have been partnering with local non-profit organization Environment Education Exchange to develop an educational program tailored specifically to third graders. The program, called Riders & Walkers, reinforces walking/biking safety skills that children need, while highlighting the benefits of active transportation. It consists of three parts: a short pre-visit classroom lesson, one post-visit lesson, and an interactive, one-hour multimedia presentation conducted in the classroom by an engaging presenter from EEE.
Riders & Walkers is an innovative way to implement the Education “E” of SRTS. Its multimedia content features a Tucson-themed game board modeled after the classic board game Chutes & Ladders and an accompanying video component highlighting realistic walking and biking environments in Tucson neighborhoods. The game format engages kids in thinking about safety issues in a fun and interactive way. Additionally the presentation and related activities are aligned with Arizona Department of Education standards.
In spring of 2017 the program was piloted in 32 third-grade classrooms in schools across the Tucson region. Schools for the pilot phase were selected based on multifaceted criteria including but not limited to:
- past participation in SRTS activities,
- focus school status,
- school-reported percentages of students walking/biking,
- existing data on percentages of student households within 0.5 mile of school,
- Title 1 status and free/reduced lunch eligibility (which may indicate greater reliance on walking among families),
- and school location in relation to Big Jump boundaries.
Let us know if you have any thoughts on which schools to include in this exciting program next school year and beyond!