Safety Town and Other Programs Give Head Start
Teaching children anything often comes down to simple repetition. Drills, songs, and flashcards help our youngest learn colors, shapes, numbers, and much more. Repetition and hands-on demonstrations can help them learn about safety too.
In the United States, communities across the country host a short program called Safety Town every summer for their children before they enter kindergarten. This program was developed in the 1930's and gained most of its popularity during the 1960's and 1970's.
Safety Town aims to teach children the basics in safety. Lessons typically include pedestrian safety, fire safety, and other topics that are relevant to the community. Although the children at such a young age may not fully comprehend the lessons, there have been many success stories of children using skills learned at a Safety Town, even years later, to help themselves and others escape danger.
Across the Atlantic, the United Kingdom has a similar program called SafeSide. The first SafeSide center opened in the mid-1990's, and now the program has spread across the UK.
SafeSide has many different programs and reaches out to youths of all ages, including teens. The first stages of SafeSide concentrate on the same core safety concerns as Safety Town: pedestrian safety, fire prevention, and personal safety.
With programs like Safety Town and SafeSide, we are finding that basic safety lessons can be taught early in a child's development, and the lessons learned are helpful as a foundation for building safety awareness that can last a lifetime.
SafeSide has two facilities for outreach to the country's youth, while Safety Town programs are held individually by participating communities.