Since 2004 the Flemish Foundation for Traffic Knowledge has created a support structure for the many volunteers that promote safe and sustainable traffic at schools. These volunteers now benefit from a vast pool of shared knowledge and practice.
Traffic Parents are adult volunteers who promote road safety and traffic skills among pupils. The tasks of Traffic Parents can be very diverse and include helping with, or even (co-)organising traffic initiatives in school, supporting teachers in practical traffic lessons, guiding schoolchildren in traffic, and acting as authorised supervisors (gemachtigde opzichter). The safety of pupils is not just the responsibility of the schoolboard and the teachers, but also that of the parents. The local projects were always initiated by parents who volunteered. In order to benefit and share lessons learned elsewhere, the Flemish Foundation for Traffic Knowledge set up a support structure for these volunteers.
The volunteers register at a website packed with information, useful downloads, and tips and tricks. When they register, the volunteers are added to the database and they are sent a free starter pack including a fluorescent ‘Traffic Parent’ vest, an information brochure with practical ideas and a poster. This way they become more recognisable and they can encourage other volunteers to register. Registered volunteers receive the ‘Safely to School’ newsletter in their mailbox five times a year, with the latest news on traffic education. They are also entitled to free participation in special training courses and study days on the topic of traffic and schools. A Facebook page is available where they can come into contact with other Traffic Parents across Flanders. Both the website and the Facebook page function as tools for sharing ideas and actions.
As a reward for their actions the volunteers receive an invitation to the ‘Day of Traffic Parent’ for the whole family. This day, held at the end of each school year, is intended as a gesture of thanks for the voluntary work done in the past year; for examaple, in 2012 the Traffic Parents were rewarded with a trip to the zoo. The project is funded by to the sum of € 34 000 by the Flemish government.
In 2010 a booklet was made featuring 20 pilot projects in various categories, including campaigns and actions related to cycling, walking and parking in the school environment. The booklet shows how the local traffic parents have organised and been involved in every project. Practical matters, such as the purpose, advantages and disadvantages, cost, implementation and evaluation, are clearly presented. The aim of the book is to inspire parents and other schools to co-ordinate similar actions.
In 2012 more than 2 500 traffic parents were registered. This a significant network but there is room for growth. The Flemish primary education system accounts for over 660 000 pupils spread over more or less 2 500 schools. This is why in 2012 the target group of parents was enlarged: although still referred to as ‘parents’, everyone who is committed to help a school and their teachers is included: grandmothers, grandfathers, neighbours, aunts, uncles and others.
Walking and cycling
24 Jul 2012
24 Apr 2015