In Mingerode, children learn how to safely navigate their way to school

Mingrod. With the start of the new school year, many young people are wandering the streets of the neighborhood, opening new horizons – perhaps for the first time without the support of their parents. In primary schools, the topic “traffic education” is on the timetable, as in the primary school in Mingrode. Due to its location in the village, but directly on a main road, children and other road users should be especially careful there. However, some rules generally apply.

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Traffic education with Dierk Falkenhagen: In the beginning there is a theoretical unit in Alexandra Frost’s class.

In the Duderstadt police station’s area of ​​responsibility, Dierk Falkenhagen is the policeman who teaches them to children, and says there are 500 to 600 a year. Almost all kids in Eichsfeld these days recognize him – provided they haven’t met him at a daycare yet. On Thursday, he started his “Yellow Feet Tour” in Mingerode. “Are you well?” He greets the kids in the morning—and yells a loud “Yes!”: The 22 students from the joint class—the first and second class share together—are highly motivated.

‘Yellow feet’ are hung on both sides of the road so the kids know: Watch out! I have to stop here. Teacher Alexandra Frost crosses the street with her students.

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Even when the policeman asks them where they feel unsafe on the way to school, the children begin to show: there are no sidewalks here, cars are always parked there in such a way that you cannot see the street well, and they give examples. This is what makes life difficult for them sometimes on the road. Falkenhagen delves into the details – he knows every blind spot and every hidden passage in the village, and he even sprayed “Yellow Feet” there during the summer holidays. The signs on the pedestrian walkway are meant to show children where they are when they want to cross the street. There are walking feet and standing feet, and the kids already know that. “But that doesn’t mean you can just park on the signs completely,” Falkanhagen explains: If there’s a car parked, you have to find a way to get around it.

So that it can also be taken safely, the practice of “looking left – right – left” is practiced. First of all, this means that all children know where the right and left are. Falkenhagen prints it on the students by asking them to write a handwriting. This should help children remember where they should look to see if a car is coming. Playfully, he made them look left and raise their right arm, look right and left, and also everyone look up and down at once – the whole class does gymnastics, and after all everyone knows what the place is.

“Sneak” where visibility is limited

They also learn how to “sneak”: if there is an obstacle that obstructs their vision, girls and boys should approach the road with extreme caution. And when they see that everything is clear, they look left and right and left again.

When all the children are ready, they practice what they have learned on the way to school: they walk in pairs along the sidewalk, the youngest child inside, the older child on the side facing the street. Falkenhagen pleaded with the students to “tell your parents that they should always walk on the side of the street.” He often tells them what they can do to be careful when adults are behaving in a way that does not fully comply with the rules or behave inconspicuously: for example, if a driver does not blink when turning but only slows down, they should make eye contact with him. And before they start walking, extend your arm to show you’re moving. If you are not sure what the road user actually wants – just wait and see. “And don’t just start walking,” the policeman says.

Students try things out on the traffic island, the traffic light, and the many crossings. Finally, Falkenhagen gives them some souvenirs to remember what they’ve learned, including a “Yellow Feet” sticker and reflective tape to help them see in the dark. He goes on to ask if the kids feel safe: “This is very important,” he says — and gives advice students should take home: “Maybe you try it with your parents or your grandparents take a different approach. If you feel safe this way, it might be a way to do it.” Better to go to school.”

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On the association's banner: Grade 1 / 2 of Mingrud Elementary School with policeman Dirk Falkenhagen and teachers Sabine Weissmann and Alexandra Frost.

On the association’s banner: Grade 1 / 2 of Mingrud Elementary School with policeman Dirk Falkenhagen and teachers Sabine Weissmann and Alexandra Frost.

There are also signs for drivers to remind that they are on their way to school – as is the case in many places in the area. Here, the association has purchased banners, among other things, to attract attention. “This plus parents, who prepare well for preschoolers, contribute significantly to safety,” says Principal Antjee Cope. She also commends parents who organize their children to go to school together rather than relying on “parent’s taxis”.

Falkenhagen also appeals to parents to practice on the way to school and to ensure there is a stress-free way to school in the morning. Addressed to motorists, the police recommend that you drive with insight and always be prepared to brake, especially near schools, at bus stops, and when crossing roads, traffic lights and zebra crossings.

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