Registration forms due May 22

REED CITY — Look both ways before crossing the street. Don’t play with matches. Wear a helmet while riding a bike.

Every parent has said these words to their children numerous times, hoping to keep them safe. Some children, however, learn better by practice than just being told what to do or what not to do. About 20 years ago, the Safety Town Program was started to provide a fun environment for children ages 4 through 6 to learn and practice important safety rules.

That program will take place from 9:30 to 11:30 a.m. from June 8 through June 19 at GT Norman Elementary. Forms are due by Friday, May 22, along with a fee of $30 per registered child. Registration forms are available through Reed City Community Education at (231) 832-5517. Children must be 4 by June 8.

GT Norman first-grade teacher, Kylene Nix-Bookwalter, instructs children enrolled in the program along with several trained teen volunteers. Together, they teach the group regarding a large number of dangers they can encounter in everyday life. Strangers, seat belts, animals, poisons, fire, bicycles, railroads, pedestrians and drugs are just some of the topics covered. Visits from Michigan State Police, the Osceola County Sheriff’s Department, the Reed City Police Department and the Reed City Fire Department, provide them with positive experiences as they are introduced to local safety officers.

The information is taught in a fun way and children learn to be more comfortable in knowing what to do in dangerous situations. The highlight every year is the adventure through a miniature town set up in the schools gym, complete with buildings, crosswalks and a working traffic light. Half of the class becomes pedestrians as the other half drive hot wheels throughout the town, all learning how to follow traffic safety rules.

Community support this year was received from sponsors including Yoplait, Reed City Rotary, Chemical Bank, Evarts Lion Club, Thompson and Son, and The Moose Lodge of Reed City.