Tri-Village News

Safetyview Heights lessons go down like ice cream

By ThisWeek Community News  • 

It was graduation day Friday, June 21, in Grandview Heights with the students decked out in their caps and T-shirts.

Twenty-two members of the Safetyview Heights class of 2013 received their diplomas in a ceremony at McKinley Park after completing the two-week program.

Safetyview Heights teaches youngsters entering kindergarten and first grade lessons on how to be safe at home, school and play.

"We cover a lot of areas in just two hours per day," said Megan Green, who coordinates the program with Nancy Kukla.

"Most of the children already seem to have a lot of knowledge about how to be safe," she said. "Their parents do a good job of teaching them. Our job is more to reinforce in a fun way those lessons."

Along with daily activities, Safetyview's curriculum includes a visit from Grandview Heights firefighters for lessons on fire safety and a visit to the municipal pool to learn swimming safety. A model town with roads and tricycles in place of cars is set up on the McKinley Field parking lot.

Kukla, a retired kindergarten teacher, said the children come to Safetyview raring to go.

"When I started teaching kindergarten in the 1960s, children would come to school the first day nervous and scared and some of them crying," she said. "These kids have experience already in day care and preschool, so they come ready for the dog and pony show to begin."

Making the lessons learned at Safetyview Heights fun is the key, Kukla said.

"We want to make it something they will remember," she said. "Now, I remember eating haggis when I was young. We want Safetyview to be an ice-cream sundae."

Several students from Edison Intermediate/Middle School serve as volunteers for Safetyview Heights, Green said.

"We couldn't do this without them," she said. "They serve as good mentors for the younger children."

The Edison students earn hours toward their community-service requirement by volunteering, Green said.

During the graduation ceremony, the younger students sang several songs, including Stop, Look and Listen, It's Important that I Know My Address and Buckle Up.

Each student received a diploma, a booklet containing photos from Safetyview and some of the pictures they drew during the program, and a gift certificate for ice cream.

Green interviewed the students about what they learned from Safetyview and read each student's comment as she introduced them.

The responses included:

* "I learned to run away from the bad guys." -- Reese Mayfield.

* "Do not bring glass to the pool." -- Beckett Jobert.

* "I learned on a boat to never pack your jacket. You wear your jacket." -- Luke Lobao.

* "Always swim with a buddy." -- Claire Callif.

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