Students and parents were invited to participate in the Simcoe County Student Transportation Consortium’s First Rider’s Program held at Fred C. Cook in Bradford this week.
The program is designed to help teach young students about the rules of school-bus safety. It runs throughout all of Simcoe County at various locations, and has been running for the past eight years, with growing particpation every year.
It was originally designed for students who would be riding the bus for the first time, but the consortium's John Barbato says it is for any student, even those who only take the bus for school trips, to learn about school-bus safety.
“The program has evolved and expanded and we try to make it more engaging every year,” he said.
“We want to eliminate some of the fears and concerns of the students arriving to get on a school vehicle the first day of school," Barbato added, "and it also alleviates a lot of the questions and concerns parents might have as they funnel through that process the first few days.”
Sean Levasseur, safety and accessibility officer for consortium, led the group at Thursday morning’s session.
The session began with a 10-minute introduction video, followed by a short bus ride around the neighbourhood, with Levasseur fielding questions from students and parents.
There were about 60 students and parents in attendance at the 9 a.m. session.
Levasseur was happy with the turnout, saying they expected to have only about 20 people show up.
Mother Paula was excited to bring her son Shepard along for his first school-bus ride.
“He cried getting on, but he was pretty comfortable once we got going,” she said.
Shepard will be going to junior kindergarten in September.
Cathy brought her son Xavier, who will also be attending junior kindergarten this year, to familiarize themselves with the rules of riding the bus.
“He’s excited to go on the school bus and he’s never been on the school bus,” she said.
After the ride, Levasseur let the parents off the bus first and then showed the students how to properly exit the bus. The parents were able to pick up a package with more information about school-bus safety, along with a colouring book and certificate of completion for the kids.
Check out the consortium's website here for other sessions happening in Simcoe County.