While school may be on summer break for some, students poised to enter kindergarten in the fall are getting a crash course in safety during the Dexter Community Schools’ Safety Town program.
The program is run by the DCS Community Education Department at Wylie Elementary School throughout the summer. Sessions consist of eight days of classes in a two-week time period featuring instruction on school bus safety, bike safety, electrical safety, stranger danger, what to do in case of fire or emergency and how to use the 911 emergency system.
“It’s a great program that really benefits the youth in our community,” instructor Terry Zaleski said.
On Tuesday, Zaleski and fellow teacher Becky Cudini taught children how to recite their phone number and address before volunteers from the University of Michigan’s C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital in Ann Arbor fitted the students with their very own bicycle helmet.
“We have guest speakers from the community, such as the fire department, come in and talk to the kids about their area of expertise,” Zaleski said.
Amy Teddy, injury prevention program manager for Mott’s and a Dexter resident, said the hospital works closely with area Safety Town programs in Chelsea, Dexter, Manchester, Ann Arbor and Ypsilanti to provide instructors with supplemental teaching materials for free.
“My job is to try and find ways to reduce injuries to children and thus reduce the number of children being admitted to the hospital,” Teddy said. “Safety Town has the capacity to work with children on a larger scale, so we want to augment those programs with teaching tools anyway we can so they can provide the best service on injury prevention.”
Teddy said last year, after noticing Dexter’s Safety Town lacked bicycle helmets for their mock Safety Town Village bicycle route, the hospital provided helmet kits and donated brand new helmets to the program this year.
“We want to establish safety habits in children early so that we don’t have to correct them later,” Teddy said.
Safety Town courses will run through July 21. The deadline for enrollment has passed. For more information on future programs, visit the Community Education website.