On average six children are seriously injured or killed on our roads in Britain, every day. Here at Brake, the road safety charity, we’re doing our bit to ensure that children understand road safety. It’s such an important subject, and one that should be taught from a young age; from the basics of holding hands and looking out for the green man, to being advocates for awareness raising and calling for changes in their community. Our Beep Beep! Days provide lots of valuable resources for educators and childcare practitioners to get two to seven-year olds understanding road safety basics.
Children are exposed to many dangers when near our roads, whether it’s on their walk to school, finding a safe place to cross or ensuring they’re sat in a correctly fitted car seat. Young children shouldn’t use roads without an adult as they can’t be expected to make their own decisions. Therefore, it’s important to raise awareness of the dangers children face and help their grown-ups understand the things they can do to keep them safe.
Through our Twitter polls in 2018 we found that 60 per cent of parents and carers walk with their child to school or nursery, but 75 per cent of them don’t feel their journey to school or nursery is safe enough for their child to cycle. In a separate poll, 83 per cent of people said they witness a child travelling in a car without being in a correctly-fitted child seat.
That’s why schools, nurseries, pre-schools and childminders can make a huge difference to road safety. You have a great opportunity to help children learn and understand the world around them from an early age, giving them the knowledge and independence to ensure road safety is well engrained for later years. Using simple messages such as always holding a grown-up’s hand when near roads can make a huge difference. They’re also the best advocates for ‘pester-power’, taking important messages home to their grown-ups.
We’ve been running Beep Beep! Days since 2004. And thanks to continued support from Churchill Insurance, we have been able to provide activities, resources and advice for free, allowing educators and practitioners to deliver engaging road safety sessions with their children. We have also developed a suite of low-cost resources in the form of a bumper pack, which each year gives hundreds of educators the hard copy resources they need to deliver a session to up to 50 children.
Our Beep Beep! Day resources are great to help you achieve your teaching goals and support the seven Early years foundation stage statutory framework:
- Communication and language development; talk about safe and unsafe behaviours demonstrated near roads and what the children need their grown-ups to do to keep them safe. Our road map resource enables small world play, getting the children to visualise and act out real-life scenarios.
- Personal, social and emotional development; use group discussions and activities to share experiences and talk about what they need to do to be safe.
- Literacy development; use our worksheets to expand children’s road safety vocabulary to include and understand words like traffic, seat belt and vehicles while talking about road safety.
- Mathematics; measure the children’s height and weight and talk to them about how those numbers help their grown up ensure their car seat is correct for their size and weight. Use our template letter to let parents know the results.
- Physical development; talk to the children about the health benefits of walking and cycling and leaving the car behind. Role play to practise crossing a road and use our ‘poke a car’ activity to help them understand cars are big and hard, and they are small and soft, which is why vehicles can hurt us.
- Understanding the world; our world map allows children to identify different ways that other children travel to school around the world, encouraging discussions about the safest mode of transport and how they compare to their own. The project also allows them to begin to understand the world around them and makes them more aware of the dangers they could face.
- Expressive arts and design; our colouring sheets allow children to use their creative skills to engage with road safety in a fun way, while allowing you to use the images to talk to them about the important messages being depicted. For example, using red, green and yellow to demonstrate the colours of the traffic lights and what the colours mean. You can also encourage them to create their own designs to express their own knowledge, concerns and messages to grown-ups.
Every year, thousands of schools, nurseries, pre-schools and childminders sign up to get involved with Beep Beep! Days, engaging more than 315,000 early years children. In 2018 we received feedback from 10 per cent of educators and practitioners who rated the project an average of 8.5 out of 10. And of those who used our bumper pack resources, 98 per cent rated them excellent, very good or good.
For the past 14 years, early years educators and practitioners have been talking to their children about road safety basics through Beep Beep! Days. Our fun and educational resources engage their children with important road safety messages, which is why they register to take part year after year and raise valuable funds to support Brake’s work.
We have some exciting things in the pipeline for 2019 and look forward to working with more and more schools, nurseries and childminders to ensure that children can be safe.
For more information and to register for our first Beep Beep! Day of 2019 on Wednesday 20 March visit brake.org.uk/beepbeepday.
About the author
Brake, the road safety charity works with communities and organisations across the UK to stop the tragedy of road deaths and injuries, make streets and communities safer for everyone, and support people bereaved and seriously injured on roads through an accredited helpline.
Stacey is Brake’s senior community engagement officer, managing the charity’s Beep Beep! Days and Kids Walk projects and helping to coordinate Road Safety Week.
Brake is partnering with PACEY to ensure that everyone working in childcare and early years has access to valuable resources to ensure their early years children can be safe when using our roads.
 RAS30062, Reported road casualties Great Britain: 2017 complete report, Department for Transport, 2017
 Poll conducted with 58 Twitter users on Wednesday 7 March 2018 twitter.com/ChurchillTheDog/status/971393405115949056
 Poll conducted with 99 Twitter users on Wednesday 21 November 2018 twitter.com/Brakecharity/status/1065169358555623424
 Poll conducted with 18 Twitter users on Wednesday 27 June 2018 twitter.com/Brakecharity/status/1011877442020171777