When school begins in late August, 43 kindergarten students will be prepared to safely cross streets and get on and off school buses after completing Sheffield-Sheffield Lake Schools'  Safety Town Program.

Safety Town Director Stephanie Hill Blythe, who teaches third grade at Brookside Intermediate School, said children will have the additional advantage of being familiar with classmates as well as the building where they will attend classes.

The program, which runs five half-days, lets kids practice bike safety by riding tricycles through a maze where they are taught about various traffic signals and when to stop or go to stay safe.

Blythe said that, as the world has changed, the curriculum has been adapted to include stranger safety, water safety, gun awareness and saying no to drugs or unsafe substances including candy from strangers.

Assisting Blythe were six Brookside High School students and police and fire/EMT personnel from Sheffield Lake and Sheffield Village.

One of the activities kids seem to enjoy most is exploring police, fire and EMS vehicles. They crawl around front seats, back seats and service bays, mesmerized by the shiny panels and instruments, and shrieking in delight while covering their ears as officers whom they have pestered comply to a demand to use the flashers and sound the wailing sirens.

Children make crafts tied to what they are learning and the cutting and gluing provide practice in fine-motor skills, Blythe said. They sit in a circle while adults read to them and learn to interact with other children in a school setting, things she believes help prepare them for school success.

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