This week my daughter attended Safety Town by Ann Arbor Rec and Ed. She had a great time and learned a lot. However, the parents were not enjoying it as much.
Safety Town is for children entering Kindergarten in the fall. This year Ann Arbor Rec and Ed offered 4 one week sessions to choose from. Safety Town is available as a half-day program (9a-noon) or a full-day program (7:30a-5:30p). My daughter did the half-day program. She had friends who did the full-day program so I contemplated having her do the full-day. Since I did not need the full day care, I decided on the half-day program and spending the increased cost for camp on other half-day camps.
My daughter loved Safety Town. They learned street crossing safety, fire safety (including a trip into a fire house), electrical safety, stranger danger, dog safety, and more. This year C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital fitted each child with a new bike helmet to keep. They used the helmets while riding bikes at the program and brought them home on Thursday. My understanding is that Mott donated a portion of the helmets. Walgreens also donated a photo for each child (of their Safety Town class).
From a parents point of view, there were several things that could have been improved.
The biggest issue that needs to be resolved is the Friday schedule. On the website and in all communication the program is listed as 9a-noon Monday-Friday. On the first day we were handed an agenda of what they were covering in class. In the Friday section, it was listed that there would be a gun/dog safety presentation for parents in the gym at 9:15a followed by graduation at 10a and dismissal at 10:30a (camp was still available all day). Honestly, I didn’t read the paper until Tuesday and found that they were actually shifting the schedule from what my daughter told me. At pickup on Tuesday, I spoke with several other parents who had not seen the schedule for Friday. The alternate schedule for Friday needs to be clearly communicated on the website, flyers, and other promotional materials as well as on the forms that were sent home prior to camp and not sprung on parents the week of camp.
Secondly, Safety Town is held at Bryant Elementary School and the surrounding neighborhood is having their curbs torn out and replaced this summer. This eliminated the possibility of street parking near the school. The parking lot at Bryant was not large enough for all of the parents who needed to drop their children off. It was somewhat ironic that at Safety Town people were parking on yellow curbs and parking in other no-parking areas. Hopefully next year this will not be an issue as street parking will be available.
I would also like to see the option for electronic delivery of information. A packet of enrollment forms were mailed out, but could easily have been sent via e-mail saving the program postage and printing costs. Postcards were then mailed the week before camp with room assignments. One of my friends was on vacation the week before Safety Town and had her mail held, so she did not receive her notification.
I am very glad that my daughter was able to do Safety Town. I remember doing it myself as a child (in Illinois) and was waiting for her to be able to go. I definitely recommend Safety Town for any child entering Kindergarten. Safety Town is also offered in other nearby communities likes Dexter, Saline, and Lincoln School districts.