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

Minerode. With the start of the new school year, many little people rush around the streets of the district and break new ground – perhaps for the first time without the support of their parents. In the primary schools, the subject “traffic education” is therefore on the timetable, as it is in the primary school in Minerode. Due to its location in the village, but directly on a main road, children and other road users must be especially careful there. However, some general rules apply.

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Traffic lessons with Dierk Falkenhagen: Initially there is a theory unit in Alexandra Frost’s class.

Within the Duderstadt police station’s area of ​​responsibility, Dierk Falkenhagen is the policeman who teaches the children, he says there are 500 to 600 a year. Almost every child in Eichsfeld is getting to know him these days – provided they haven’t met him at daycare yet. On Thursday he started his “Yellow Feet Tour” in Minerode. “Is everything well?” He greets the children in the morning – and gets a loud “Yes!”: The 22 students in the combined class – first and second grade participate together – are highly motivated.

“Yellow feet” are posted on both sides of the road so the children 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 start bubbling: There are no sidewalks here, cars are always parked there in such a way that you can’t see the street well, and they give examples of this , which sometimes makes life difficult for them on the road. Falkenhagen goes into detail – he knows every blind spot and every hidden path in the village and even sprayed the “yellow feet” there during the summer holidays. The markings on the footpath must show the children where they must position themselves when they want to cross the street. There are walking feet and standing feet, the children already know that. “But that doesn’t mean that you can only stand exactly on the markings,” Falkanhagen clarifies: If there is a parked car, you have to find a way around it.

So that it can also be taken safely, “looking left-right-left” is practiced. First of all, it means that all children know where right and left are. Falkenhagen instills this in the students by asking them for their handwriting. This should help the children remember where to look to see if a car is coming. Legend has it that he makes them look to the left and raise their right arm, look to the right and left, everyone also looks up and down once – the whole class does gymnastics, and everyone knows what is where.

“Sneak” where visibility is limited

They also learn to “sneak up”: if an obstacle blocks their view, the girls and boys should approach the road very carefully. And when they see that everything is clear, they look left, right and left again.

When all the children are prepared, they practice what they have learned on their own way to school: they march in pairs along the sidewalk, the younger child on the inside, the older child on the side facing the street. “Tell your parents to always walk on the side of the street,” Falkenhagen appealed to the students. And he tells them much more about what they can do to be careful when adults behave in a way that does not fully comply with the rules or behaves unclearly: for example, if a driver does not blink when turning, but only slows down, they should make eye contact with him or her. And before they start walking, extend your arm to show you’re moving. If you are not sure what the driver is actually up to – just wait and see. “And don’t just go for it,” says the policeman.

The students test things at the traffic island, the traffic lights and several crossings. Finally, Falkenhagen gives them some reminders to remember what they learned, including a “yellow feet” sticker and reflective tape to help them be seen in the dark. And he continues to ask if the children feel safe: “It’s very important,” he says – and gives a tip that the students should take home: “Maybe you try it with your parents or grandparents take someone else approach. If you feel more secure that way, maybe that’s a better way to go to school.”

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On the association's tab: The combination class 1/2 of Mingerode elementary school with policeman Dierk Falkenhagen and teachers Sabine Wißmann and Alexandra Frost.

On the association’s tab: The combination class 1/2 of Mingerode elementary school with policeman Dierk Falkenhagen and teachers Sabine Wißmann and Alexandra Frost.

There are also signs for motorists as a reminder that they are on their way to school – as in many places in the district. Here, the association has purchased banners, among other things, to raise awareness. “That and the parents, who prepare the pre-school children well, contribute enormously to safety,” says headteacher Antje Kopp. She also praises the parents who organize for children to go to school together instead of relying on “parent fees”.

Falkenhagen also appeals to parents to practice on the way to school and ensure a stress-free way to school in the morning. Addressing motorists, the police recommend that you drive with foresight and always be ready to brake, especially near schools, at bus stops and at crossing roads, traffic lights and intersections.

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