"Walking Buses in Tasmania Training Manual"
Walking Buses in Tasmania Training Manual Resources for Schools and Volunteers Compiled By: Lissa Villeneuve Walking Bus Project Officer August 2009 For more information contact - Sustainable Living Tasmania Phone (03) 6234 5566 email firstname.lastname@example.org 1 What is a Walking Bus? A Walking Bus is a fun, safe and active way for children to travel to school. It is a group of primary school aged children who walk to school along a safe route accompanied by adult volunteers. It is usually formed with one parent “driving” at the front of the bus and another parent at the rear. Additional parents may be needed depending on numbers. The walking bus picks children up at designated stops at designated times along the way and “drives” them to school. The frequency with which the bus operates is up to the school, parents volunteers who want to “drive” it and children who want to use it. This may vary from one day per week to every day depending on family commitments. Safety on the bus is of utmost importance. The route is therefore thoroughly checked for traffic hazards and participants wear bright, distinctive vests to be easily seen. Why set up a Walking Bus? Benefits of a Walking School Bus include: • A safe and convenient way for children to travel to school; • Improvement of health and well being through walking and talking; • An opportunity for children to learn road sense and traffic safety; • Reduction of traffic congestion around the school; • Contributing to a sustainable environment; • Opportunities for children and parents to develop friendships and a sense of place and community in their neighbourhood. Who can participate in a Walking Bus? • Students K-6, who have returned a consent form, signed by their parent/guardian and signed the Passenger Pledge. • Parents who have attended a Walking Bus Training Session and have a current Police Check lodged with the school. • Other adult volunteers, who have been approved by the school, have attended a Walking Bus Training Session and have a current Police Check lodged with the school. Walking Bus Parents’ Views “It helps create camaraderie between the children and among the volunteers. There’s a great sense of community when you head up the road with three buses of children all decked out in their safety jackets.” “Children and adults enjoy the walk, great form of exercise, social contact is great between children and adults, saves on petrol costs and also greenhouse gas emissions.” “Parents no longer have to get their children to and from school everyday. On days when I’m not rostered on I get an extra hour or so to myself. On days when the weather is too bad to walk, we are still better off because we usually car pool with other families on the Walking Bus.” 2 Walking Bus Case Studies South Hobart Primary School South Hobart Primary School started its walking bus in 2003. Committed parent volunteers and an average of 25 students participate on the main walking route. The school with the support of the Hobart City Council and Cool Communities promoted the walking bus in 2004 by creating artwork along its walking routes via a bench seat “resting place” and stencil footprints. The students also assisted with the production of a 2005 Walking Bus Community Calender. Students have also participated in class discussions about air quality and greenhouse issues. They completed travel surveys looking at how they usually travelled to school before the walking bus and then again 2 months after the walking bus was implemented (see Attachment A for an example of the travel survey). “I absolutely love it, I love being with my own children of course and I enjoy getting to know other children, because now I know them all by name and see them in the street we wave and say hello to each other, so there is a real sense of community that has evolved from this walking bus.” Denice Walter Parent and South Hobart Walking Bus volunteer After the implementation of the walking bus there was a significant reduction in the number of cars being driven to school. Householders in the school community also completed surveys to monitor their family car use and to identify ways to decrease car use. This will contribute to data about the flow-on effects of the walk to school bus program. Rosetta Primary School Our Walking Bus initially took three years of planning and discussions and surveying parents, collecting data and examining routes. This occurred to prior to 2006. Initially there were more detailed guidelines to be negotiated and limited assistance. Throughout this phase the concept was continually discussed but remained unachievable. Car parking became an intolerable situation and this added to our need to regroup and take action. The idea of reducing their carbon footprint was also attractive to students. In late 2006 connections were made with The Glenorchy City Council, The Heart Foundation and Sustainable Living Tasmania with the aim to achieve our goal of a Walking Bus. The original material and surveys were re-examined and an advertising campaign started in our Newsletter and at Assemblies. The School was also working towards more sustainable and environmental approaches in how they operate and this added to the commitment level. Parent interest was sourced and identified parents were trained. There were two routes in the initial planning stage but due to one of the families moving and someone else changing their employment only one route could operate. We officially launched our Walking Bus in 2007 and since then it has operated every Friday morning with a number of committed core families maintaining ongoing support. Other families join at various times due to their needs and then drop out. Positive Outcomes: • Achieved implementation and the launch. • Core group of enthusiastic supporters – includes grandparents. | • Most students have their parent, carer or grandparent walk with them. • A positive social and fitness orientated experience. • The School maintains regular contact with members. • Continue to advertise and promote wherever possible. • Support and connections made with GCC, The Heart Foundation and Sustainable Living Tasmania. • The Walking Bus is a recognised feature of the School community and is seen by others to be a valuable asset. 3 Role of Participating Schools Participating schools are responsible for: • Appointing a School Liaison Person for the Walking Bus (WB). The School Liaison Person will work with Council, the Project Officer and the Walking Bus volunteers to ensure the smooth running of the program. • Providing a supportive environment to sustain the Walking Bus through running activities related to the program. This includes articles in the newsletter, information at assemblies, volunteer appreciation activities, etc. • Providing children or parents who are interested in the program with the contact details for the relevant Walking School Bus Volunteer Group. This will allow the volunteers to determine how the child can be included in the bus and distribute the necessary paperwork. • Conducting a Baseline Survey in each class over a one week period to determine how students travel to school before the Walking Bus begins. • Filing a copy of the child’s signed WB Consent Form and Behavioral Agreement. • Ensuring that all WB volunteers have current Good Character Checks on file and have attended a WB training session. • Providing the Walking Bus Project Officer with copies of Certificates, Awards, Newsletter Articles, etc as examples to share with other schools starting Walking Buses. • Public Liability will be provided for school staff, leaders and volunteers associated with the school endorsed Walking Bus program, by the Tasmanian Risk Management Fund www.education.tas.gov.au/admin/ff/risk/default.htm. If running an after school Walking Bus, the school will be responsible for: • Notifying the WSB volunteer if a child who catches the Bus in the afternoon has gone home sick and will not be catching the bus home (where possible). • Endeavoring to let children out of class on time who are catching the WSB home in the afternoon. • Attending to children who have missed the WB in the afternoon. These children will report to the school office and it is the school’s responsibility to speak with the parents or emergency contact to organize alternative travel arrangements. 4 Role of Walking Bus Volunteers Drivers and conductors need to have a sound understanding of road safety, duty of care and basic first aid. They also need to display good habits and make it a fun trip. Benefits of being a WB Volunteer • The opportunity to help reduce traffic congestion and increase safety around the school. • Involvement in the school and the community. • Increased personal fitness. • The opportunity to assist children to increase physical activity, learn road safety, and gain a greater sense of independence. • The opportunity to meet other parents and children. • Safer and cleaner neighborhoods. • A reduction in your greenhouse gas emissions. • Time saved by not always having to accompany your child to school. • Money saved on fuel costs. • A fun start to the day! Roles of WB Volunteers • Guide the bus along the agreed route, meeting students at the designated bus stops on time. • Take responsibility for the safety and conduct of all children on the WB. • Follow the authorized route (if there is a problem on route due to road works, lead bus by the safest alternative. Notify School Liason Person of change). • Safety on the bus is of high importance. The route therefore is thoroughly checked for traffic hazards, and adults wear bright vests to be easily seen. • The size of the bus depends on the number of accompanying adults. There should be a minimum of 2 volunteers at all times and a volunteer:child ratio should be set by the school principal. Anything between 1:4 and 1:8 is common. Other children accompanying the bus should be included in this calculation. • Apply the school rules for behaviour management and revoke the privilege of travelling with the Walking Bus if children continuously misbehave. Duties of a WB Volunteer • Attend a road safety training session and lodge a current Good Character Check with the school. • Help to compile the volunteer roster and bus timetable. • Organise a substitute volunteer if they cannot walk on their rostered day. • Adhere to school protocols and policies related to the WB program (eg. Follow the agreed timetable and route, unless it has become hazardous; manage children in the road environment). • Carry all of the items on the volunteer checklist (found on page 12) • Record the names of children arriving with the WB in the Passenger Log in the WB folder at school. • Record any incidents - such as accidents, route alterations, delays on an incident form in the WB folder at school. Report any serious incidents to the principal and/or parents. • Meet with the Volunteer Coordinator, School Liason or Project Officer to discuss the program and provide feedback when and if necessary. • Ensure all new participants have a signed consent form and passenger pledge. • Assist with the promotion of the WB program within the school and community. 5 Long Term Success of the Walking Bus Keeping a bus operating should be reasonably straightforward. Once walking buses start, parents and children seem very keen to continue using them. However, as they run on motivation and enthusiasm – instead of petrol - you need to keep the momentum going for children and volunteers alike. Developing strong local ownership of the bus by the surrounding community and the school will ensure it will keep walking down those tracks well into the future. Look after volunteers and sponsors Find ways to acknowledge and thank these valuable contributors: • Consider a volunteer morning tea. • Acknowledge sponsors and volunteers in school newsletters and the school assembly. • Consider nominating the volunteer crew for local community services award, or local environment awards. • Organise acknowledgment of volunteers through your local council. Celebrate special days and events Do something for special times of the year, eg dress up for Easter, Halloween, Spring or Christmas. Wear red noses, footy colours during grand final week or an environmental theme for World Environment Day, Clean Up Australia Day, National Tree Day. Or you can design your own theme. Acknowledge student and volunteer achievement Give students certificates for “most kilometres walked”, “best behaviour”, “most trips made”, etc. Give awards to students for taking 20, 50 and 75 trips with the walking bus. Make the bus trip fun Play games like “eye spy” or “spot the hazard” or sing songs along the way. Look for signs of the changing seasons or new developments along the route. Invite others to join the bus Invite local celebrities or officials to join you for the day. Encourage students to “Bring a Friend” (the friend would need to have a signed consent form). Celebrate Grandparents Day on the bus by inviting them to accompany the bus. Naming the bus Give the bus a name – something that children identify with either at school or in their area that is appropriate for their age range. Run competitions to come up with a name or mascot idea. Design bus stops Get students to design a bus stop and get parents or school staff to help create the signs. Bus stops do not have to be elaborate. They can be anything from something painted on the footpath to a metal signpost. Recycled materials can easily be used to make a sign. Talk to local businesses about supporting the Walking Bus by donating sign materials or doing the printing. Set goals Think about goals that you have for the Walking Bus. Then when you reach your goal you can celebrate! • How many students would you like to see participating? • Chose a destination anywhere in the world, calculate how many kms away it is and count the #kms walked by the WB until you get there – then have a themed party. • Calculate how much greenhouse gas is saved per km of non-car travel and decide how many tonnes you want to save. 6 Think about the long term The cost of running a walk to school bus is relatively low. However, you will need to make sure that you can meet any costs or provide any resources necessary to run the bus in the long term. Think about things like stationery, photocopying, training new drivers and conductors, marketing, advertising, promotional merchandise, safety vests etc. Ensure new students and parents know about the Walking Bus and are invited to join. Some schools include information and interest forms in their pre-kinder enrolment packs. Try to share the load between volunteers so that one person doesn’t get burnt out. Consider nominating a new Walking Bus Coordinator each year or term. Some other ideas include: • Finding sponsors – RACT for example has offered to cover the costs of the reflective vests. Who might be happy to provide hats, water bottles, morning tea for volunteers, etc? • Fundraising – maybe the WB wants to do a fundraiser to get a trolley for carrying the bags or to order WB t-shirts for participants. Remember: - Tell other people about the walking bus’s success with articles in your local community association newsletter. - Put up to date information in the school newsletter. - Design a display board of information at the school or on nearby bus shelters, displaying photos, stories and drawings by students. - Present walking bus Certificates of Participation / Achievement to children stating how far they have walked this term (eg. # kilometres). - Get a prominent local celebrity to join the bus eg local police, sports hero, radio personality), TV presenter or councillor. - Provide incentives during special weeks where children can be placed in a lucky hat draw if they walk on the bus during a particular time. - Look out for sponsors, such as local shops, council funding and sport and recreation funding 7 Walking Bus Mentors – Contact List Below are the names and contact details for school staff and parent volunteers who currently run a Walking Bus at their school and are willing to act as mentors to other schools wishing to start a Walking Bus. Sustainable Living Tasmania would like to facilitate a network of people throughout the State, who can get ideas, inspiration and assistance from one another in relation to the Walking Bus Program. If you are interested in being included on this list for others to contact you, please let Lissa know by email email@example.com or phone 6234 5566. We would also like to collate resources to share with other Walking Buses. Please send copies of certificates, awards, newsletter articles and other material that might be helpful to other schools. Name School Contact Details Vollie Staff Denise Walter South Hobart Primary 6224 1105 X Nola Lenthall Rosetta Primary Nola.firstname.lastname@example.org X Marcus Newbown Rosetta Primary Marcus.email@example.com X Peter Marmion Landsdown Crescent Peter.firstname.lastname@example.org X Elizabeth Delaney Albuera Street Elizabeth.email@example.com X Penny Fried Mount Stuart firstname.lastname@example.org X Janine Brooks Princes Street email@example.com X 8 Walking Bus Consent Form Parents of children who participate in the Walking Bus are asked to read the following conditions, which apply to themselves, their children and the volunteers. Parents • It is the responsibility of parents to provide appropriate supervision to ensure the safety of their children between home and pick-up and drop-off by the WB. The WB volunteers are not responsible for the safety of children between their home and the designated WB route. • Parents are also responsible for ensuring that their children arrive on time at the designated pick- up point. The WB volunteers cannot delay the timed schedule because this could affect the safety and convenience of other participants and their families. • Parents are expected to emphasize to their children that they must comply with the directions given by the volunteer during the trip between home and school. • Two volunteers will escort a maximum of 16 children. Parents accept that, although the risk of harm to children is reduced by the presence of trained volunteers, it cannot be eliminated. • Injury claims cannot be assumed to be covered under the liability insurance provided to the WB volunteers. The liability insurance only responds to claims involving negligence of the WB volunteers. • Parents are responsible for using their own discretion about the weather conditions that make the WB inappropriate on a particular day. Although volunteers will endeavour to give advance warning when schedules will be suspended, this will not be possible on all occasions. • Parents are responsible for providing the WB volunteers with up-to-date information on medical conditions and parent contact details. Children • Children are expected to behave responsibly in relation to the road traffic environment and towards other WB participants. • Children who cannot comply with the directions of the volunteers or exhibit inappropriate behaviour may be asked to leave the WB program. Parent Volunteers • In the events of an accident, injury or illness arising during the scheduled trip, volunteer drivers have the parent(s) approval to seek medical assistance as required and this is to be at the cost of the parent/carer. The volunteers will carry the contact phone numbers that parents provide them. • Volunteers have the authority to alter the WB route without notice if a route hazard occurs that would place the participants at risk. Parents will be notified of such changes as soon as practical. • The volunteers are protected under the Department of Education public liability cover on the condition that they complete the required training, undergo a police check, and adhere to the road safety guidelines. ________________________________________________________ Parent Consent Form (Please return completed consent form to The Walking Bus Coordinator) I/we have read the WB Consent Form and acknowledge and agree to the conditions. I/we give permission for our family contact details to be distributed to other families participating in the WB program and for photos of our children engaged in WB activities to be printed in the school newsletter, and other WB promotional material. Child/children’s names: Parent/Carer’s names: Address: Phone: (H) (W) (M) Email: Signed _______________________________________ Date 9 Role of Walking Bus Volunteers Drivers and conductors need to have a sound understanding of road safety, duty of care and basic first aid. They also need to display good habits and make it a fun trip. Benefits of being a WB Volunteer • The opportunity to help reduce traffic congestion and increase safety around the school. • Involvement in the school and the community. • Increased personal fitness. • The opportunity to assist children to increase physical activity, learn road safety, and gain a greater sense of independence. • The opportunity to meet other parents and children. • Safer and cleaner neighborhoods. • A reduction in your greenhouse gas emissions. • Time saved by not always having to accompany your child to school. • Money saved on fuel costs. • A fun start to the day! Roles of WB Volunteers • Guide the bus along the agreed route, meeting students at the designated bus stops on time. • Take responsibility for the safety and conduct of all children on the WB. • Follow the authorized route (if there is a problem on route due to road works, lead bus by the safest alternative. Notify Principal of change). • Safety on the bus is of high importance. The route therefore is thoroughly checked for traffic hazards, and adults wear bright vests to be easily seen. • The size of the bus depends on the number of accompanying adults. There should be a minimum of 2 volunteers at all times and a volunteer:child ratio should be set by the school principal. Anything between 1:4 and 1:8 is common. Other children accompanying the bus should be included in this calculation. • Apply the school rules for behaviour management and revoke the privilege of travelling with the Walking Bus if children continuously misbehave. Duties of a WB Volunteer • Attend a road safety training session and lodge a current Good Character Check with the school. • Help to compile the volunteer roster and bus timetable. • Organise a substitute volunteer if they cannot walk on their rostered day. • Adhere to school protocols and policies related to the WB program (eg. Follow the agreed timetable and route, unless it has become hazardous; manage children in the road environment. • Carry all of the items on the volunteer checklist. • Record the names of children arriving with the WB in the Passenger Log in the WB folder at school. • Record any incidents - such as accidents, route alterations, delays on an incident form in the WB folder at school. Report any serious incidents to the principal and/or parents. • Meet with the Volunteer Coordinator, School Liason or Project Officer to discuss the program and provide feedback when and if necessary. • Ensure all new participants have a signed consent form and passenger pledge. • Assist with the promotion of the WB program within the school and community. Volunteer Agreement I, ________________________, agree to be a volunteer on the Walking Bus at _______________________ School. I attended a training session in which the Walking Bus program and road safety precautions were clearly outlined. I have been given the necessary equipment, including: safety vest, bum bag with basic first aid supplies, route map, time table, contact numbers, volunteer roster, list of participating children and any medical conditions. I acknowledge that I have read and understood the roles & duties of a WB Volunteer. Signed _________________________________________ Date __________________ 10 Student Passenger Pledge I, …………………………………………………………………………………(print full name) agree to be a passenger on the………………………………………….(insert school name) Walking Bus. I agree to walk with the other children. I agree to arrive on time at my Walking Bus Stop. I agree to listen to and follow the instructions of my Walking Bus driver and conductor. I understand that if I misbehave I may not be able to continue catching the Walking Bus. Signed ……………………………………………… Date………….... ……… Parent………………………………………………. Class (insert Grade and/or Teacher)…………………………………………..………. 11 Volunteer Checklist Safety Vest Mobile Phone Route Map Schedule Accurate Time piece (watch, mobile phone, etc) Emergency Contact Numbers Incident Report Form Bum Bag with Basic First Aid Equipment Extra Parent Consent Form Phone list with volunteer and student numbers Rewards (stickers, etc) Emergency Response Plan Passenger Log 12 Draft Emergency Response Plan – Walking Bus The aim of this plan is to ensure an effective efficient and co-ordinated response to reduce the effects of an emergency/critical incident occurring which may effect students, employees and parents at South Hobart Primary School whilst involved with the ‘Walking Bus’. All members of the school community should be aware of the following procedures when involved in the ‘Walking Bus’. 1. Assess the safety needs of the group and the situation – safety, injuries, environment, condition of party. 2. Make sure everyone is safe and encourage them to remain calm. 3. Avoid contact with blood and other body fluids by using protective gloves. 4. Attend to injured people. 5. Identify and use people in the group who can assist in managing the incident. 6. Remove group from the incident site. 7. Inform police as soon as practicable. 8. Establish adequate shelter if required and nurture the needs of the people involved. 9. Talk to people about their concerns and alleviate immediate stress such as denial, rejection, guilt, irrational behaviour, severe shock, loss of control, hysteria. 10. Deal with people who are likely to develop physical and/or emotional problems. 11. Decide whether to get immediate help or stay put. 12. Decide on a strategy for looking after people until outside help arrives. 13. Contact school/Principal as soon as practicable. 14. Do not talk to the media about the incident without Central Office approval. 15. Collect accurate information (written and photographic) about the incident. 13 PASSENGER LOG Students Name # kms/trip # of trips taken (mark 1 box per trip) 14 Walking Bus Volunteer Schedule & Contact Details Route No. 1: _______________________ # ___ parents required 1,2,3,4 = Parents who are required for that day (A) & (B) = Reserve Mon Tues Wed Thurs Fri 1. 1. 1. 1. 1. 2. 2. 2. 2. 2. 3. 3. 3. 3. 3. 4. 4. 4. 4. 4. (A) (A) (A) (A) (A) (B) (B) (B) (B) (B) First person on the list is the driver • Other people rostered take appropriate positions at the front and the back • (A) reserve = first person to contact if you are unable to be a driver on your rostered day • (B) reserve = second person to contact if you are unable to be a driver on your rostered day Volunteer Name Phone number Address Days available 15 Attendance Sheet WALKING SCHOOL BUS - ______________ROAD ROUTE DRIVERS Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday 1 - (at front of bus) 2 3 4 A – Reserve B – Reserve PASSENGER Distance DATE FIRST NAME, Surname # km per trip / /09 / /09 / /09 / /09 16 Walking Bus Emergency Contacts Police Fire Ambulance School Walking Bus Volunteer Coordinator Aurora – report down powerlines Other __________________ Other __________________ Student & Volunteer Contacts Name Address Phone Number 17 18