• Bob Vlach, Woodford Sun Staff

Learning about school bus safety in a fun way

Backed by the enthusiasm of school bus drivers, monitors and mechanics, as well as the popularity of Buster the Bus, “In and Around the Bus” got students singing, dancing and clapping about school bus safety during assemblies at all four public elementary schools prior to winter break.

That’s the response Transportation Director Kay Penn says she wanted when she developed this school bus safety program for Woodford County Public Schools, with songs and talking puppets who remind students when to cross a road and how to sit on a bus safely.

All eyes were glued to Buster the Bus when this dancing remote-controlled, wheelie-popping miniature school bus made his appearance at Simmons Elementary on Dec. 18.

“Once you bring him out,” says Penn, “the program’s pretty much over because the kids just love him.” They also enjoy singing “On the Bus,” a song with lyrics – feet to floor, seat to seat, back to back, face front – that stays with students long after the school bus safety assembly in their gyms, she says.

Based on her own experiences, Penn predicted bus drivers would hear students singing the song’s lyrics on their way home later that day. “So it sticks with them,” she says before adding, “Kids learn just like we do. If it’s fun, you’re going to remember it more.”

Prior to this school year, Penn says the district’s bus drivers would talk to students about school bus safety as a part of state-required evacuation drills. “In and Around the Bus” has become an opportunity to make learning about school bus safety a lot more fun and entertaining for students, she says. Penn says she plans on bringing “In and Around the Bus” to students at the start of next school year. “So we have more time to teach,” she says.

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