The students at Čakovec primary school in Croatia have truly made road safety a part of their school culture. About 300 students from all different classes have directly participated in over 500 hours of road safety activities during the past year!
The students brainstormed in their classes about a broad range of topics, covering everything from pedestrian safety to risky driving behavior to the future of the car. They shared many of the same ideas and messages. For example, they all agreed that each individual’s behavior is a major factor affecting our safety on the road. They also share the belief that we can influence our friends and families just by having good behavior ourselves.
They identified various problems that they’d like to address. Some were very specific and targeted towards their school, like the problem with cars parking in the pedestrian zone and the zebra crossings around the school. Others were more general and covered a broader scope, like the importance of showing responsible and conscientious behavior in traffic, the dangers of using mobile phones while driving, and the importance of education and prevention in road safety. Above all, they wanted to help spread road safety culture among all generations.
The students wanted to encourage their friends, family and the wider community about the importance of conscientious and responsible behavior when on the road. They used a wide variety of digital multimedia techniques, computer games, quizzes, cartoons, posters, flyers, competitions, and more to get their messages across and get people taking part in road safety activities. Altogether, they’ve performed over 500 hours of activities since January 2012! About 300 students were directly involved and over 1000 were indirectly involved as viewers of performances or users of resources.
Each of the students’ activities and the corresponding goals were displayed in many different locations: at parent-teacher conferences; on school web sites, regional portals, and educational portals; in newspapers, on the television, on the radio; and all over town through flyer and sticker campaigns. The students also developed partnerships with the police and the Croatian automobile club to give a more professional approach to the programme, which helped capture even more attention and participation.
The students say that they judge their success with the project by the positive changes they have seen in their school and in the community - but they’ve had even more than that. When they presented their activities at the annual festival of Croatian student projects, they were selected among the fifteen best in the nation and called to the national final competition!
They plan to continue the activities in the years that come, and would also like to see other schools begin to organize similar projects and activities. For those who are thinking about it, the students offer a piece of advice: We build the future ourselves, and every change starts with ourselves. Wise and inspiring words from the creators of a great and meaningful project!