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TRAINING OF TRAVELSMART OFFICERS, 2003

Packaging the Travel Choices : SCHOOLS

Individual Events and Activities

Overview and Objectives

There are many different types of 'one-off' events designed to promote and involve school age children in TravelSmart activities. These may include individual school based projects and excursions or participation in events promoting activities relating to active transport modes organized at local community, state or national levels. The educational consultant is often required to provide innovative incentives for the school and assist with organization. TravelSmart project officers within the council will play an important role in identifying opportunities for schools to become involved in such activities and assisting with the organization required.

Examples include walk and ride to school days. The school may work in with other bike or walking programs such as Bike Ed. Activities and projects may run throughout the weeks leading up to the event and cover topics like safe bike riding, maintenance and purchasing equipment. Other events may offer opportunities for involvement in local community festivals and participation in special projects such as 'Active for Life' and the 'Green Challenge'.

Riding to school

There are also experiential activities that can be organized for schools such as 'Magical Mystery Tours' and Puppet Shows conducted on buses. These offer direct involvement and the use of active transport modes. Children have the opportunity to travel on various modes of transport to and from a special location or event outside of the normal classroom environment. As with other programs there are challenges and opportunities involved in organizing such events.

Key objectives of these events and activities are to:

The effectiveness of schools organising and participating in events will vary according to the features of each activity. The main challenge is the time and organisation required by teachers.

Inidividual Events and Activities - Program Features

Events are special occasions that involve school participation in the promotion of active transport modes. They may be directly linked to TravelSmart or they could be part of a related program.

Common examples of directly relevant events include:

There are also special school events such as:

and other events which may present opportunities.

Riding to school on scooters

Recognizing events where TravelSmart is relevant requires attention to what else is happening in the community and how TravelSmart can be promoted and linked to those other events. Examples can include:

For the TravelSmart Officer this means playing an active role in the promotion of the event.

TravelSmart Curriculum-based programs can also be incorporated into other school activities / excursions. This can be used to

Active roles for TravelSmart officers

As a TravelSmart officer you could get involved in:

...go to school and university to learn and to work on improving transport systems

Building off other programs

Often events are link to other programs. Ride to School may be the finale of several lead up programs. Bike Ed is often a preliminary program so children are ready to participate in riding their bike to school. This progression is important.

The aim is to have the children and parents experience bike riding as an alternative to riding to school. Ride to School offers this experience. Awareness raising, skill and experience offered by this program combination aim to create an environment for ongoing riding and sustained use of the bike. Walk to school is based on the same principles.

Linking a TravelSmart activity to an external event can be very effective.

A 'Learning Festival' as a regional shopping centre or library could provide the basis for a school excursion. When there, the students could be involved in activities related to a TravelSmart theme. For example, conducting a survey of people attending the festival, perhaps as part of a curriculum activity requiring collection of data on local transport modes. This could involve asking people:

Another option could be working in with health related Programs focussing on physical activity. This can present an ideal opportunity to co-badge an event. This can be beneficial to the school as grants may be available for schools promoting physical activity. Make sure you are aware of funding opportunities to promote to the school.

Magical Mystery Tours

Magical Mystery Tours are special days planned for individual TravelSmart Schools. This program currently runs in Western Australia. It aims to offer school children the experience of using different modes of Transport to travel to and from a secret destination or a special excursion. Organisation includes:

Arranging an activity such as this may involve multiple classes of more than 20 children. This is a major consideration and there is a need to ensure that the logistics can be managed.

take a train or tram ride for a special treat!

Travelling Puppet Shows

Travelling Puppet Shows are another type of special event currently running in Western Australia. Run by the Green House Office, the puppet show involves experiential theatre on an actual bus. Puppets are used to impart key TravelSmart messages to children as they experience bus travel. The shows are geared to specific age groups and aim to promote positive attitudes towards public transport and active travel choices. Organisation is mainly the responsibility of the TravelSmart Officer in conjunction with the Education Consultant/ Coordinator. Similar liaison with the school and, in this case, also the theatre group is required.

Other Events

There is a wide range of other events which may present opportunities to promote the TravelSmart message through schools. Examples include:

Implementation Issues

A variety of implementation issues are of relevance to individual events and activities including:

Time to organize

The time to organize events can be a major undertaking for a school and impact on the daily school routine. When suggesting the school becomes involved, it is important to consider the following issues:

Consider the impact on the school

Anticipating the impact on the school will minimize these issues for the teacher and school community. Offering to assist with planning can take the focus away from the logistics and on to the benefits of the event.

Schools run to a very tight schedule. Teachers have multiple roles and extensive planning and reporting requirements. It is essential to find out from the individual school what are the best ways and most suitable times to:

Limitations relating to timing of an event, scheduling and timeframes on the day need to be established early in the process. Taking the time to plan for these needs is important.

Lead Times

Lead time required will depend on the type of event. Schools require plenty of notice so rescheduling of duties and tasks can be organized. How the event relates to other school activities must also be considered. Planning an event that has no relevance to current activities for the year level may not be of value to the school. Ask teachers and/or education consultant/coordinator:

Ensure you can accommodate all the children involved

The number of children involved and the scale of organization can be easily overlooked. From a logistics point of view, you need to think about the feasibility of your suggestions.

Example: TravelSmart Schools is linking into an event relating to   environmental awareness organized by the AGO. The event is located in the CBD. You would like to take link this event to using Public Transport. Is this a practical option for this situation?

Challenge: You need to consider the number and size of classes. A Bus or Tram may only be able to take one class. A train would be the only feasible option and this would need to be well out of peak period times.

Think about these logistics issues before suggesting ideas to the school. 

Duty of Care

Duty of Care is of primary concern to the school community. It is essential to know what needs to be in place for an event to be deemed suitable. Suggesting Ride/Walk to school programs will be far better received if the right environment exists. Look at what has been run in the school already, for example:

Organising children to travel on public transport in large groups will also require special consideration of issues such as:

This will increase in importance once junior primary start participating in TravelSmart programs. Always check with your Education Consultant/Coordinator before suggesting involvement to the school.

Opportunities

Events are a great opportunity to get in touch with a school. Advising schools of up and coming events relating to travel is a great way to continually build a relationship with key members of the school community. Schools are often too busy to be looking for opportunities to attend events themselves. Contact from a TravelSmart Officer proactively promoting ideas indicates not only enthusiasm in the project but also genuine interest in the school.

Asking yourself, 'How can I add value to the School' is a great starting point and generating ideas for involvement in events is a positive action. It also allows you to follow up on other Curriculum and Walking School Bus Programs. Seek feedback on other programs and generate relationship-building conversations.