Preschool is an ideal time to introduce children to school bus safety because many of them will begin riding the bus regularly in elementary school.
This unit on bus familiarity and safety is divided into three lesson plans, which can be downloaded and printed by clicking on the images below. Topics are set so that lessons taught at the beginning will be revisited throughout each lesson to add detail and reinforce information. The goal of this lesson is to introduce children to the school bus, its purpose, and the fact that they may ride a bus to school - without mom or dad - in the near future.
The lesson will introduce children to recognize what a school bus looks like, how it is different from a car, who rides a school bus, where school buses can take you and how to behave on a school bus. As with the other lessons, this lesson will include having students build a pretend "bus" out of chairs inside the classroom.
The final project will have students create their own personal school bus out of an egg carton to be used in future lessons. The goal of this lesson is to teach the students about how to be safe on the bus without creating fear or anxiety. The mock bus and real bus activities will give students the chance to practice the rules they established in the introduction.
For their final project, students will create a "town" in the classroom to use with their egg-carton buses. Students will revisit the rules they established in topic two, with a focus on how they should treat other students and the bus driver.

Because these are young children, the issue of bullying will focus primarily on ideas such as "being a good friend" and talking to the driver or their teacher if they see something they think is wrong.
As part of the classroom bus and real bus activities, students will start by waiting at different "stops" for the bus to pick them up. The final project will have students create a mural of a school bus with a self-portrait of one student in each window. Teaching familiarity with the bus ahead of time can alleviate anxiety and ensure that each child is prepared for a safe and enjoyable ride. If necessary because of time constraints, the real bus experiences can be condensed into a single day. It will also introduce the idea that there are rules for the school bus just like there are rules for the classroom. It will also reassure children that they cannot get "forgotten" on the bus and familiarize them with the bus driver. The first visit to a real school bus will focus on the basics: getting on and off, selecting a seat, sitting quietly, sharing a seat, and recognizing the bus driver. Children will learn that bus safety is important so that the driver can do his or her job and get the students to school on time.
Topics will include how to sit appropriately, how to use seatbelts (if applicable), or why they can be safe without seatbelts, why it is important to be quiet and where to stow their bags. They will understand that it is a good idea to practice a bus drill, just like a fire drill.

This will help familiarize them with the concept that buses drive all over town, and that it is important to be safe every time the bus is moving and when getting on and off. The discussion will include what to do if they see someone misbehaving, what to do if they have a problem and the fact that good bus behavior includes the time they are waiting at the bus stop. If one of the final art projects is not appropriate for your particular classroom, many other options are available. For children with older siblings, some of the material may be familiar and will serve to reiterate and add to what they already know. Like with the first visit to the bus, students will board the bus, greet the driver and find a seat. For example, children who will likely wait for the bus in very urban or rural areas may need extra instruction about their surroundings. Getting parents involved in the lessons is also a good idea, so they can reinforce the things being taught at home.

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