F1Weekly podcast # 542

Schools award top marks for drive to teach children road rules

Dubai. School heads and teachers in Dubai have given top marks to a new programme that teaches hundreds of children about the importance of road safety.

The Porsche Kids Driving School – an inititiave from Porsche Centre Dubai, Al Nabooda Automobiles – has visited eight Dubai schools in the last two months, raising children’s awareness of road rules, traffic signs and safety.

School Principals say the plan to build lasting awareness of road rules among five to eight-year olds is a vital part of their education, and can influence parents, as well as future drivers.

“The children will, without doubt, become more aware of the possible dangers on the roads, as well as understanding more about the rules of the road and what particular signs mean,” said Chris McDermott, Principal and CEO at Jumeirah Primary School.

“It’s an excellent idea, an extremely worthwhile initiative, as well as being lots of fun for the children. They really enjoyed it. They learnt a lot and really seemed very enthusiastic.

Added McDermott: “What we learn from the Porsche Kids Driving School is that you are never too young to develop a sense of road safety. The children discover that learning is fun, but road safety is a serious business.”

“It is of absolute importance that children of this age are taught basic road rules and safety. Child safety and security is probably the most important issue that we, as adults caring for children, deal with.

FIA Vice President Mohammed Ben Sulayem gave his full backing to the programme after witnessing the response of children during a recent visit to Dubai National School in Al Barsha.

Omar Abo Lael, the school’s Head of Department for Activities, said: “It was a new experience for the kids, and they all got the chance to learn about different safety aspects on the roads, such as traffic signals and different safety elements of driving.

“The idea is fantastic. Because it was so different and new for them, the children really absorbed all the information and were quite fascinated about the whole course.

“As a parent of one of the children who took part, I can say the kids learnt a lot from the experience. My own child was constantly asking me questions or giving me advice on proper driving safety that night. He was constantly speaking about it, and that is why the programme is so unique.

“To be able to instill proper driving safety culture at such a young age, even long before they can actually drive themselves, is a great thing.

“It is a very important issue here at our school, because as a private school, we focus a lot on different safety topics, such as healthcare and food, and now driving is also a very crucial element of this.”

At the Porsche Kids Driving School programme, friendly instructors outline key traffic rules even youngsters should know, such as how to use a pedestrian crossing safely and how to react at the traffic

In the second part of the exercise, children get the chance to enjoy showing what they have learned while riding Porsche pedal cars on a mini track.

They also earn their first driver’s licence, and a few weeks later are tested by the schools on their knowledge to assess the programme’s effectiveness. As part of the programme they also enter a sketching competition to design the “Car of the future”.

Vijay Rao, General Manager at Porsche Centre Dubai, said: “We have had a tremendously encouraging response all round, from school heads and teachers, from the children, and from parents.

“The Porsche Kids Driving School will be visiting more schools in Dubai and the Northern Emirates over the coming months, and depending on feedback and evaluation of test results, we hope that the programme can be developed into a long term initiative.“

“It is one of our corporate social responsibility initiatives and the ultimate goal of the programme is to make better drivers for tomorrow. So we will be working hard to

develop it and enhance its effectiveness so that it has an increasingly positive effect on more and more schoolchildren.“

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