- It's the biggest mode of transportation they've ever ridden in.
- There are lots of seats...so lots of options.
- They don't have car seats or boosters or even seat belts.
- There is only 1 grown-up to 30 or 40 kids.
- There are lots of kids on the bus.
- There are lots of BIG kids on the bus.
- It's noisy.
When you think of it like that, why wouldn't they be afraid?
I think we can help that in the classroom and on the bus.
We are very lucky to have a bus at our Kindergarten Open House...the day BEFORE school starts. The students are able to look at it, sit on it, and take a short ride (without mom and dad). The short ride goes around the block and doesn't take 10 minutes. This is the perfect opportunity to "break in" the idea of buses. We highly encourage all our students to take the Trial Run, even if they won't be riding during the year. The experience is controlled and supervised and sometimes their excitement helps mom and dad relinquish that idea. This is also a great way to avoid first day meltdowns.
In the classroom, bus books help pave the way to a great ride. Sharing books about the bus is a great way to help students relate to their experiences on the bus. I love the book, I'm Your Bus. I discovered it a few years ago...and the kids love it. I also like to sing the traditional Wheels on the Bus song and compare and contrast a "city bus" with our school buses. We even make up new verses for school buses.
We have established 3 rules for our school. These rules are throughout the school and school day. No matter where our students go during the day, the rules are the same. We discuss what each rule means in the specific area and the bus is no exception. We discuss what it means to be safe on the bus. Of course, it means sitting on our bottoms on the seat, facing forward, and not waving your arms out the window. (Does anyone else remember being told if you waved your arms out the window it could be ripped off by a tree branch? No kidding, this is what our elementary school bus driver told us.) Being respectful is a wonderful character trait they need to transfer to all areas of their life...including the bus. It's about being respectful to the driver by using quiet voices, being respectful to our friends by keeping our hands to ourselves and talking kindly, and being respectful to property by throwing away trash appropriately and not damaging the seats. Finally, we talk about being responsible on the bus. We need to keep our bookbags zipped and take care of my belongings. These rules cover any incident...and they are easy to remember.
Kids love to role play. We set chairs in double rows and let students show good bus behavior. Demonstrating sitting, talking, and walking on the bus helps them transfer these skills to the bus. By the way, they really like to play the driver.
Finally, our Poem of the Week is about a bus. We read it, rhyme it, illustrate it, demonstrate it...and anything else we can think of to do with it. We also so an art center and poetry center the following week with it.
I am including a Let's Take a Ride...On a Bus SAMPLE Set as a FREEBIE. Click Here for the sample set.
If you would like the Complete Set, please visit my Teachers Pay Teachers Store.
Thanks for joining me! Check back tomorrow...a new post every day!