Climate change is one of the main challenges our planet is facing, and its effects became extremely visible to all. Transport accounts for a quarter of the EU’s greenhouse gas emissions and its share continues to grow. The RIDE & SMILE project aims to foster the development of active
European citizens who are aware of the relevance of their individual choices as triggers of change, by introducing in the daily life bicycle as transport mode to schools.
The specific objectives of the project in this regard are:
• to promote raising awareness about environmental challenges and a better understanding of the importance of individual choices as factors of change
• to promote sustainable urban mobility principles among pupils and the use of the bicycle as the most effective means of transportation
• reinforcing the development of key competences in pupils, such as communication in foreign languages, digital competences, social and civic
competences, including climate action
In the context of education for sustainable development (ESD), it is important to perceive problems, point out possible solutions, weigh up advantages and disadvantages, and explore possible courses of action for the individual. In the context of primary school, the focus is especially on the sustainable possibilities and limits that exist in one‘s own living and school environment. However, by teaching and learning about these aspects it must be considered, that all of us, the parents who drop their children off in front of the school in the morning, but of course also the teachers,may be dependent on the car in many situations. It also may not be possible for everyone to switch to more environmentally friendly means of transport or even to the bicycle from one day to the next. In this respect, the teaching of this topic cannot be about a general stigmatisation of driving by car. Within the school context, it must rather be about thinking critically about the advantages and disadvantages of different means of transport. The children should be able to decide for themselves when which vehicle is appropriate. They should gain insights into the environ- mental consumption and climate impacts of individual means of transport and thus also be enabled to choose a means of transport responsibly.
The modules of the Ride & Smile didactic approach thus pursue the goal of promoting the development of active European citizens who are aware of the importance of their individual choices as triggers of change. The modules deal with all areas of mobility, traffic participation, restrictions, environmental pollution, and dangers caused by traffic, but above all with concrete solutions and the recognition and comprehension of possibilities for action. For example, the children learn about the advantages and disadvantages of individual means of transport and thus build a first basis for being able to choose between different means of transport in a reflective way. Thereby it is important to critically examine the con-
sequences of auto-mobility and to learn about and positively experience alternatives to the car. Only those who know and use bicycles, buses and trains will integrate these means of transportation into their own everyday mobility.
But of course, the project is also about educating children to behave safely on the road. Only those who know the rules can behave correctly at intersections or traffic lights, for example. At the same time, however, the children must also understand that road traffic is not always safe, despite the rules. For example, cars can run a red light or overlook a waiting child at a crosswalk. For the children, this means always being alert and attentive despite traffic rules, anticipating situations, and being in contact (e.g., eye contact) with other road users.
For children to be able to travel safely and in an environmentally conscious manner, experience must be gained on site. Investigating and recognising dangerous places in their own home and school environment is a crucial aspect of this. It is therefore important to become active with the class as part of the project, to do research, to be out and about on site, to observe the traffic in front of the school, to make the way to school safe or even to plan and carry out an excursion by bicycle.
The modules of the Ride & Smile didactic approach presented here were developed jointly by the project partners of the Ride & Smile project, tested by experienced teachers in the school context and then compiled based on the experience gained. They include suggestions for mobility projects with didactic considerations, instructions for implementation, ideas for series of lessons, tips for teachers, material, Internet addresses and other suggestions. The single modules can be implemented in the classroom with little effort. Depending on the area of application and inten-
tions, not all modules have to be implemented in class at the same time. The modules can be implemented individually, as a whole unit or as part of a project week. Of course, individual project days, school festivals, or a longer-term engagement as part of school ESD or SDG projects are also possible. Here, the transport topics can be taken up alongside other aspects of climate protection, or also form the special focus.
Finally, the Bike to School Challenge (see IO1) can also be combined with the modules of the Ride & Smile didactic approach. The challenge is particularly suitable as a supplement to a project week or a school project with a large action day or school festival in the schoolyard. In this way, alternative means of transportation such as the bike can be tested in a playful and motivating way as part of the activities and the challenge. We, the Ride & Smile project team, wish you and your students a lot of fun and success in implementing the numerous teaching suggestions.
Bicycle – Ways to school
Bicycle and road safety – Part 1
Bicycle and road safety – Part 2
Bicycle and road safety – Part 3
Bicycle and road safety – Part 4
Bicycle and road safety – Part 5
Greenhouse effect and climate change
“Making a difference” – Communicating to and working with the community
Traffic census / counting
Ways to school