Learning to Cross the Street Is More Than Simple ABCs
Learning to look left, right, left is only the beginning when teaching kids a life-long habit of being a safe pedestrian.
I think the whole first concept is to get the child to the corner, to a curb where they have to learn that they cannot cross midstreet. So you have to show them what a curb is, what a corner is and also the familiarity of the colors red and green. Green means go, red means stop and then starting to learn the pictures first. That's where we start with the Kindergarten level. To make an intersection safe, first of all, there has to be an identified curb. So there's got to be some place that there's a corner. And at that corner, there either has to be a crossing walk or there has to be a signal. And I think that what happens is that what we teach in our curriculum is that if you don't have these two things, it's not really a safe place to cross. But a lot of the time, what happens is in these rural areas, where there are not so many crosswalks, and there's not so many traffic signals, people seem to cross midstreet. And so that becomes problematic, but also the incidence of being hit is very low in these rural areas, as well, because there's just not traffic volume as we do in urban areas. When you teach a child who's in grade 1 left and right, the best way to teach this is we have pictures. We also teach the L, you know, signal with fingers, and then there's a song also that goes with it, but we actually have them walking across the street, looking left, looking right, you know, the whole thing. And this seems to get the motor with the words, and this is what we teach. And, you know, they're always looking for oncoming traffic and then how to judge, you know, how fast those cars are coming, but I guess, you know, the thing you need to teach your child is that you must go where you see the crosswalks and signals, because that'll be the safest place for you to cross.
Posted on BrainLine June 28, 2012.
Produced by Brian King and Vicky Youcha, BrainLine.
Gillian Hotz, PhD is the director of the KiDZ Neuroscience Center and the Concussion, WalkSafe™ & BikeSafe™ Programs in the Department of Neurosurgery & The Miami Project to Cure Paralysis, at University of Miami Miller School of Medicine.