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Improving road safety awareness through experiential learning: an action research with preschool children

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2020
Demiray Sandıraz, Betül
Children are one of the highest risk groups in traffic injuries and casualties. All around the world, many countries try to decrease hazardous situations concerning traffic through environmental, structural, and educational adjustments. Road safety education is critical to increase awareness of children as pedestrians, bicyclists, passengers, and future vehicle drivers. The purpose of this action research is to analyze the effects of a road safety teaching unit developed by the researcher based on experiential learning theory on knowledge, attitudes, and behaviors of preschool children. The intervention was developed based on the analysis of interviews with four early childhood practitioners in Turkey and a detailed review of educational programs implemented around the world. Nineteen 5 and 6-year old children participated in the intervention study. Before the intervention, they were interviewed through Children’s Road Safety Awareness Interview Schedule. After the implementation of the unit with 6-session, children were interviewed once. However, ten children could had participated in the post-interviews due to the coronavirus pandemic. The differences in the pre and post-interview statements of children revealed changes in the road safety awareness resulted from the intervention. Observations throughout the learning activities and post-interview with the classroom teacher provided additional data. Findings showed that children’s road safety awareness improved after the intervention. Fundamental concepts and rules about traffic were acquired by participants. Positive attitudes for their own and others’ safety developed, and safety practices in daily life were reflected in their statements along with feedback by the teacher.