By Susan Schell
Pilot Staff Writer
This summer a miniature city popped up in the corner of the Kalmiopsis Elementary School playground; The makeshift town was a very ingenious prop in the Safety City program which teaches youngsters the importance of being alert while on city streets.
The town consists of large wooden squares depicting actual businesses in Brookings. The blacktop was painted like a miniature city street complete with crosswalks, sidewalks and railroad tracks. Stops signs and a working electric traffic light lined the street.
Groups of children entering kindergarten next fall jumped on shiny new Radio Flyer tricycles and rode through the town accompanied by a volunteer who would point out what to do at stop signs and traffic lights.
The children were split into two groups; one group acting as drivers and the other playing pedestrians.
The pedestrians were taught how to stay safe by looking both ways before crossing the road and watch out for cars.
The program also had a classroom session which discussed other safety issues over a period of one week.
Guest speakers visited the class to educate the children on their particular area of expertise. Jen Malter from Town and Country Animal Clinic brought a dog and cat to teach the students the proper way to approach animals they didn't know.
The Safety City program is sponsored by the Brookings Police Department and coordinated by Daniel Palicki and Shirley Bates.
The program is free to the students and is paid for by donations from local businesses. After the course, each student received a free bike helmet.