GREAT FALLS — Thursday saw a special delivery to the Skyline Early Learning Center. Students from Great Falls High School unloaded two buildings and several street signs for what will eventually be turned into a miniature town called "Safety Town."
One of the buildings was modeled after the Milwaukee Station depot near downtown Great Falls.
“I’ve been waiting for this today for a long time,” said Bison sophomore Houston Waddell. “My class built one of 'em and a different class built the other one. We all worked together and it was just a good learning experience for all of us.”
Starting in June, Skyline will host a series of camps where children entering kindergarten can learn how to be safe pedestrians and drivers in the mini-village. They will ride their tricycles through the streets of “Safety Town," learning about stop signs, cross walks, and traffic safety.
“It’s a camp about learning about being safe when riding bikes, driving in cars, crossing the street, railroad safety,” said Skyline teacher and Safety Town instructor Ryan Beam. "We have visitors and guest speakers from GFPD, GFFR, BNSF from the railroad, Red Cross is coming one day. So it's all about how kids can be safe throughout their lives in the community."
The project is a collaboration between Great Falls College MSU’s Lifelong Learning program and the Great Falls Public School System. The Great Falls Uptown optimist club will paint road lines and railways. The hope is to eventually bring on other community members to sponsor buildings for what will be a permanent display at Skyline.
“We definitely have the playground space and the children love riding bikes around,” said Skyline administrator Colette Getten. “And to think that this will stay here all year round for the kids to get to use during the school year was an absolute bonus for us too.”
The program is offered in four separate two-week sessions and is presented in partnership with Great Falls Public Schools and the National Safety Town Center.
The program will combine songs, art projects, and videos that take place in an indoor classroom setting to provide a fun learning experience for the children. Daily lessons will be followed up with take-home handouts for parents and caregivers. At the end of each two-week session there will be a Safety Town graduation.
The sessions will be held at the Skyline Early Learning Family Center, 3300 3rd Street NE, Great Falls, the week of June 13-24 and July 25-August 5. Morning sessions are 9 a.m. to noon and afternoon sessions are 1 to 4 p.m. The cost is $100.
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