Academy which teaches children about traffic safety from 3 years of age began operating in Lithuania.
Z Generation Academy of the LAS Every child has a right not only to education, but to a healthy development as well. Almost two billion children in the world go to educational institutions every day, however even 500 of them fail to reach the school, they die in traffic accidents, about 2500 are seriously injured. It compares to a number of school children of two large schools - every day. No, it is not a scenario of a horror movie, it is happening right beside us - every day. 20 July 1969. It is the day, when almost half a century ago, Neil Armstrong became the first human, who walked on the surface of the Moon, by making a small step from the ladder of the spaceship. Then it was said that humanity became even more advanced and civilized. Today, after almost 50 years have passed, when we are living in the age of technology, creating autonomous vehicles, talking and thinking robots, sending spaceships into space, creating artificial intelligences, and even planning to land on Mars. We know perfectly how to check whether our kids are improving their skills of mathematics, biology or other knowledge, but we still lack a proper infrastructure and teaching technique, to monitor the steps of our little ones towards the safer traffic. Right from the very young age, children must learn to behave on the road responsibly and in orderly fashion, and we, adults, are responsible for that. We help to our little ones to prioritise and areas, the knowledge of which would have to be improved - drawing, dance circle, robotics, singing, etc. But as the adults rate the sessions do they give enough of attention to the safe child? Whether we provide enough of attention and resources so that our kids, who make up for 20% of all traffic participants today, and tomorrow - even 100%, would be safe and aware in the traffic environment? Maybe in 2030 we will not need drivers any more, but we are sure that there will be pedestrians in the way of autonomous vehicles. "Do not drive under influence", "Do not drive too fast", "Wear the helmet" and other advertisements of traffic safety surrounds us every day, but there is a question, how efficient they are if if traffic participants have no necessary basics and a proper base of the traffic safety. By being one of the oldest Lithuanian organisation that protects the interests of motorists, LAS took a small step towards the training of little traffic participants and expects that it will be a big leap towards an early teaching of kinds in the field of traffic safety. On 05 February 2018 first Z generation academy of LAS in Lithuania opened its doors in Marijampolė. Goal of the academy is to encourage little traffic participants (3 years and older) to learn the main requirements of the Road traffic rules, develop the skills of safe behaviour on the road, develop the concept of traffic safety in real life. Create a possibility to acquire the knowledge of traffic safety, and test the already acquired knowledge in as real environment as possible, i.e. traffic safety hall-labyrinth. First trial months of the Academy will be February, March, April, and May. Teaching programme will be improved during these months. Full course of the programme will commence from the academic year of 2018/2019 and will look like this: September – introduction to the Academy, presentation of the course of the year, general traffic rules; October – how important it is to use the light reflecting elements, making of a reflector, demonstration of reflector's performance in a dark room; November – traffic lights, meaning of colours, crossing of an intersection, theory and practice; December – intersection and the pedestrian crossing. Crossing of the pedestrian crossing, crossing of the road, when there is no pedestrian crossing, crossing of the non-regulated intersection, theory and practice; January – train and level crossing, crossing of the level crossing and the rails, walking over the level crossing, walking over the rails, looking around, theory and practice; February – bus stop, waiting for a bus, entering/exiting, waiting for a bus at a stop, theory and practice; March – helmet, vest, protection elements, theory, and general practice; April – walking on the suburban road, playing at the playgrounds by the road; May – summing up of the course, practical exercises. The sessions will be attended by 3 to 15 year old children. Age three to seven - general teaching about the concept of traffic, eight to eleven - traffic, traffic signs, twelve to fourteen - bicyclist courses, fifteen years - scooter driver courses. Teaching programme will be also prepared for elder people as well. We hope that till 2020 we will have a network of 10 Academies in Lithuania, which with the help of other organisations will spread in Europe and maybe in other continents. We are planning that Kaunas Žikevičius safe child school, Marijampolė College, and Vilnius Gediminas technical university will join the work of Z Generation Academy of the LAS and will help to improve the teaching programmes for various age groups. People often ask me, when do we plan to complete the programme of teaching technique and the academy will be fully established. My answer to this question for everyone is never, till the world is turning and the technology is constantly improving, we will continue to augment and improve the Academy, so it will never be completed. I am very sure that traffic safety will begin only when all institutions rally for the welfare of all traffic participants and will share all available knowledge, experience and capabilities. It will be a constructive direction and all available information will be used to improve the safety of all participants of the traffic. We are kindly inviting everybody who could contribute to this project. Traffic safety is everybody's concern.