Local News | Bureau County Republican

Princeton Junior Woman’s Club holds 46th annual Safety Town session

The club’s annual preschool safety program hits the streets

Safety Town, sponsored by Princeton Junior Woman’s Club, has concluded another session, marking 46 years of ushering area preschoolers through the hows and whys of traffic, fire and police safety.

The program is a two week long “school” on safety that is presented to 4 and 5 year olds in Bureau County each year. The first Safety Town program ran in 1976 and has been going on ever since, according to PJWC member Gail Jagers.

In addition to outside speakers and classroom activities, PJWC builds a child sized “town” on the school playground that has buildings; signs painted to resemble railroad crossing signs, pedestrian crossing signs, stop signs, and street signs; painted roads and crosswalks; and a working stoplight.

Students act as pedestrians and ride Big Wheels bikes through the town to learn about safety as a pedestrian and rules of the road for bicyclists.

“In 2022, we had 29 participants and 14 teen helpers in the program,” Jagers said.

Running from June 13-24, this year’s Safety Town was overseen by Officer Kendra Bierbom, of the Princeton Police Department and Douglas School teacher Erica Lenihan. Several guest speakers also were on hand to present other safety information.

Participants heard from the Princeton Police and Fire Departments, speakers from BueComm about when to dial 911, OSF St. Claire about poisons and medicine safety and Freedom House about personal safety.

Students also got a chance to explore a Princeton Elementary School bus to teach bus safety.

The program ended with a graduation ceremony on the last Friday in which parents are invited to see what the kids learned over the course of Safety Town.