How to walk on city streets, and to fear cars while doing so, is something that’s taught to small children everywhere. Once those kids grow up and get driver’s licenses, however, teaching the same kids to avoid running over other people doesn’t seem to be a major part of the curriculum.
It’s been generations since the days when streets were places where kids were expected to walk and play, and drivers were held responsible for keeping them safe. These days, nobody bats an eye when the onus for street safety is put onto school children.
A program called “LA Street Smarts,” using video games and set simulations of city streets to train kids how to navigate without getting hit by negligent drivers, arrived at Lakeshore Elementary this week to sharpen its students’ survival skills. The SF Chronicle reported on the “innovative workshop”:
A group of third-graders waved their hands and screamed – “Stop!” – as a car slowly backed toward them from a garage. The children weren’t in danger of becoming San Francisco’s latest pedestrian casualties, though…
Students began by playing “Ace’s Adventure,” a video game in which second- and third-graders navigate an avatar through a neighborhood on a virtual walk to school, crossing streets and learning to obey signals.