Sunday, October 26, 2014

‘First Rider’ program puts focus on safety

Parents of children starting school this fall have until the end of next Wednesday (Aug. 13) to register them for the annual “First Rider” program.
Two sessions will be held at the Fort Frances Education Centre (school board office) at 9 a.m. and 11 a.m. on Wednesday, Aug. 19 to help the youngsters not only get acquainted with riding a school bus and having any of their fears assuaged, but also to learn about safety.

“The ‘First Rider’ program is an education and awareness program designed to familiarize young children and their parents with school buses and school bus safety,” said Nikki Armstrong, manager of Transportation Services for the Rainy River District Transportation Services Consortium.
She noted the program runs for about 45 minutes and includes a safety video, a review of school bus safety procedures, and even a ride on the school bus.
“Parents are encouraged to ride along with their children,” said Armstrong, adding the children are driven to area school bus loading zones.
“Rules for loading and safety on the bus are reviewed,” she explained.
“Children receive some fun school bus safety activities and a certificate for completing the program.
“Parents also receive additional information on transportation policies and safety procedures, such as ensuring that parents are aware and understand the visible parent program,” added Armstrong, referring to the policy that all “early years” students require a parent/guardian to accompany them to and from the bus stop.
Armstrong stressed school bus transportation is extremely safe.
“To maintain this safety record, children and their parents must be familiar with school bus safety rules, such as how to get on and off the bus safely and how to behave on the bus,” she noted.
“The ‘First Rider’ program is an opportunity for the Rainy River District Transportation Services Consortium to introduce school bus safety rules to children, and for parents to become familiar with school bus procedures.”
Armstrong said the program also allows parents and children to ask questions about school bus safety and related issues.
“Early years” students are offered door-to-door school bus service when feasible while Grade 1-3 students must live a distance of more than one km from their school to access transportation services.
Those in Grades 4-8 must live more than 1.6 km from the school while high school students must live more than 3.2 km away.
The “First Rider” program also will be taking place at the “Best Start” Hub in Stratton on Aug. 20 at 2 p.m. and at the Atikokan Rainbow Daycare Centre on Aug. 21 at noon.
Call 274-6664 to register.

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