OT graduate students teach pedestrian safety at elementary school

OT students
Occupational therapy graduate students, from left, Tracy Najarian, Chloe St. Rose, Stephanie Bivona and Katelynn Johnson educate Church Street Elementary School students about pedestrian safety.

April 18, 2013 - Several Quinnipiac University occupational therapy graduate students in the School of Health Sciences led a pedestrian safety presentation to Church Street Elementary School students on April 15 and 17.

The program was part of the "Walk This Way" taskforce, created by Safe Kids Greater New Haven and FedEx, made up of community leaders committed to child pedestrian safety.

Quinnipiac students Stephanie Bivona, Katelynn Johnson, Tracy Najarian and Chloe St. Rose taught the elementary school students about pedestrian safety while traveling to and from the school. The Quinnipiac students focused on addressing the developmental and educational needs in each grade to create a memorable and relevant learning experience.

Tracy Van Oss, clinical assistant professor of occupational therapy in Quinnipiac's School of Health Sciences, worked with her students to design activities including: a walk around the perimeter of the school demonstrating safe walking, a "Family Feud"-style trivia game about pedestrian safety, safety videos and a poster-drawing competition to showcase students' new pedestrian safety skills.

On April 30, the taskforce will unveil a plan it hopes will create a safer school environment during pick-up and drop-off in the Hamden community where the school is located. Changes to the area surrounding the school include: changing traffic patterns for the school buses, creating a walking map, installing reduced speed school-zone flashers and creating new wheelchair ramps to improve the permanent walking conditions.

A representative from FedEx will present Church Street Elementary School; its principal, Howard Hornriech; and Safe Kids Greater New Haven a check for $25,000 for the environmental enhancements on April 30. Hamden Mayor Scott Jackson and Hamden Chief of Police Thomas Wydra are expected to attend the unveiling.

Founded in 2005, Safe Kids Greater New Haven is a network of organizations, led by the Quinnipiac Occupational Therapy Department and the New Haven Health Department, dedicated to preventing unintentional injury. The organization works to prevent unintentional childhood injury, the number one cause of death for children in the United States.