Mantua – According to statistics from the Center for Disease Control, more children die every year due to unintentional injuries than from all diseases combined. To counteract these numbers, the Crestwood Primary School (CPS) PTO, kindergarten teacher Mrs. Jolene Reese, and a core group of volunteers worked together to educate area children on safety-related topics. 

The Red and Green Groups of Safety Town anxiously await presentation of their graduation certificates.

In August, 68 children and their families participated in the first week-long Safety Town program held in the Crestwood School District in over eight years. States CPS Principal Beth Trivelli, , “Since many children in our district attend kindergarten without having had the experience of safety-related education from daycare or preschool programs, we felt it was crucial to give kids an early start to a healthy and productive school year.”  While students at CPS receive bus and Fire Safety training at school, the new Safety Town curriculum covered additional topics, including 911, poison control, safety belt usage,  and pedestrian safety.  ‘“The Safety Town program seamlessly meshes with our formal school program, where children learn to stay safe by being respectful, responsible and ready,” adds Trivelli. Held at the Primary School, the Safety Town program provided kids more than just training to be safe, it gave them an opportunity to easily transition to being in the building in the fall. One parent stated, “I think it was a great way for my child to get acclimated to the school environment. It will make the transition from home to school easier on everyone.”

On the school playground, kids learned how to play safely, as well as pedestrian and bike safety. Assistant Chief Matt Roosa and his crew from the Mantua Shalersville Fire Department covered fire safety. The highlight was a trip for each child through the smoke house, which safely but effectively simulates a smoke-filled home setting in a controlled manner. Patrolman Mike Jones of the Mantua Village Police Department also provided gun safety and stranger-awareness instruction for the children.

Throughout the week, children attended informational sessions, made topic-specific crafts and learned songs that helped them retain the week-long instruction. One parent stated, “They covered important topics in ways to hold the kids’ interest. My daughter kept singing the songs and doing the hand gestures – it really made the messages stick for her.” According to another parent, “My son loved all of it — he couldn’t wait to get there each morning. It was a definite success for our son.”

Several individuals and organizations helped to make the program successful, by providing supplies and making donations, including the Hiram Community Trust, Mantua McDonalds, Lowes, Sayre Construction, Barky Mart and Wal-Mart. Without strong community support and involvement, programs like this cannot happen.

If your child will attend kindergarten in the fall of 2013 in Hiram, Garrettsville, Mantua, Shalersville, Streetsboro or Aurora, mark your calendar for CPS Safety Town August 5 – August 9, 2013. To volunteer or to make arrangements for a donation, please contact crestwoodsafetytown@gmail.com.