In the Spring of 2016, the Ottawa Safety Council (OSC) launched a program to complement the Ottawa Student Transportation Authority’s (OSTA’s) Walking School Bus (WSB) program by adding responsible, trained and equipped Grade 5 and 6 students as Junior Leaders to work under the supervision of the adult WSB Leader and it has been an outstanding success!
Having Junior Leaders walk with the WSB daily creates a peer-to-peer learning model which increases the level of safety for the children on the WSB and encourages the use of active, safe transportation. As well, it increases the level of safety awareness and fosters leadership skills in older elementary school students in Grades 5 and 6.
Being a Junior Leader is also a lot of FUN! Junior Leaders are “Safe Walking Ambassadors” in their schools and are encouraged to share safety tips and the benefits of active transportation, as well as track the number of steps the Walking School Bus, takes throughout the year. They are rewarded for their help throughout the year with hot chocolate days, movie recesses and a special field trip at the end of the year in June.
Junior Leaders are invited to apply for the position yearly and must exhibit the following qualities:
- Be mature, dependable and trustworthy
- Have a positive attitude and be a positive role model for other students
- Good time management skills
- Have a willingness to take on responsibility
- Be respectful of rules and authority
- Be confident and personable
- Have good grades and attendance, as well as good relationships with other students