When the cat runs across the pavement

Police officer Iris Knaudt from Stuttgart explains how the police help kindergarten and school children in road traffic.

Ms Knaudt, at what age is traffic education useful?

Raising awareness of road safety is good at any age. However, in my experience, not much information sticks with younger children. All it takes is for a cat to run across the pavement and the girls and boys start to stray. However, from pre-school age onwards, during school route training and later during cycling training, we police officers are well liked with our playful methods and are remembered.

How do you gain respect in front of a group of kindergarten children without making them afraid of the person in uniform?

This is indeed a fine line and always depends on the individual child. Of course, we show ourselves as approachable, engage in conversation and involve the boys and girls to quickly establish a connection. We are happy to take the opportunity to show the work of the police in a positive light. At the same time, we also make it clear how serious it is that pedestrians, cyclists and motorists are on the road free of conflicts. Most of the time we can quickly overcome the initial distance and later the children argue about who gets to hold the policeman's hand.

What incident do you remember after the many years of road safety education?

There is no one story. But one time I got feedback from a teacher that the group had never been so attentive as when the police were there. This is nice feedback and shows that the cooperation of the police is just as important as that of the parents and the educators.

3 Tips from the traffic policewoman: This is how traffic rules are remembered

1. Remember: A kerb is a stop stone

When children stop at the kerb, they have more time and fewer distractions to get an overview of the traffic situation.

 

2. Playful: This is how children like to listen

Animal comparisons help information to resonate well with children. Examples include: The zebra crossing is a lying zebra that helps us across the road.

 

3. Ensure quiet: This is how pupils stop whispering

"Now everybody puff out your cheeks, just like a blowfish". Whoever can hold their breath the longest is the winner. Of course, this trick only works in "explaining situations". Please do not use it on a bicycle.

About the person

Iris Knaudt has been a police officer for 30 years. For many years, she handled traffic education in kindergartens and schools; today she coordinates the measures for all of Baden-W├╝rttemberg from Stuttgart. Her workplace is in the Coordination and Development Office for Traffic Accident Prevention in the Prevention Department of the State Office of Criminal Investigation in Baden-W├╝rttemberg.