The bus tour is by far the kids’ favourite part of the BusReady school program! By the end of the classroom videos, they are very excited to go out to the bus. A few things to do before you take them on the bus:
Set your expectations: Tell the kids that even though the bus isn’t in service, it doesn’t mean we can break all the rules and climb all over it like animals. “This is like a test! You’ve just learned all the rules of transit, so now we are going to practice like we’re in real life!”
Establish whether or not you are going on a ride: Some schools will make the extra effort and fill out permission forms so the kids can take a ride around the block on the bus. This will be arranged by the Youth Program Team ahead of time, as well as the route, etc. However, whatever is happening, the kids will always expect to go on a ride unless you tell them otherwise. If we are not going on a ride that day, I make it very clear that we are NOT riding the bus, but we are exploring the bus and getting to push buttons, sit in the seats, etc. which is still very exciting!
Watch them as they board the bus, and reinforce the rules if you have to: We are throwing everything we just learned out the window if we let the kids run, jump, and hang on the inside of the bus after we have just told them all the rules and etiquette of transit. If you see kids breaking the rules, you can (nicely) ask them to try boarding the bus again until they are able to do it correctly.
Ask them all to find a seat: It is going to be much easier to manage your group if they are all sitting. Tell them before they board that they need to find a seat on the bus, and pretend they are glued to the seat after they find that seat.
Taylor’s Tips: The Dreaded Handles
The handles on the bus are the biggest distraction for children when their class is on the bus and trying to listen. Before we step foot on the bus, I always make a point of telling the kids that the handles on the bus are mostly for adults and for when we are moving only. If you are not tall enough to reach them, or hanging on them for no reason, it becomes a safety risk. I also inform them that they will break if you hang on them, as they are not meant to support your whole body weight. “Even though they look JUST like something you would find on a playground, please do NOT hang on them – they WILL break!” I also tell them to always choose to sit on a bus if there is an available seat, as that is the safest way to ride. For the kids who are not tall enough for the handles, I point out our various poles and hand holds that they can use instead.
Despite this, some kids will still hang on the handles almost every single time you bring them on to the bus. Try to stay calm and just nicely go up to every single child who is hanging from them, and politely ask them to let go of the handle. You can remind them that we don’t need to touch the handles right now, as the bus is not moving.
Extra tip: This is a very good job for the other Ambassador to do while you are leading the inside of the tour, as you can just slowly move around the bus and correct behaviours quietly without having to interrupt the bus tour.
Before going on to the rest of this lesson, please watch the following video to see an example of part of a Bus Tour: