'Buster the Bus' promotes safety during stop at Winsor Hill

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There was an extraordinary enrichment lesson Tuesday morning at Winsor Hill Elementary School in Johnston.

However, many of the first-grade students were perhaps a bit puzzled because the day’s honored guest was a moving, talking – and, at times, snoring – mini yellow school bus.

In keeping with a tradition that began a few years ago, Susan Parillo – Winsor Hill’s health and physical education teacher – invited Buster the Talking Bus to Johnston to teach first-graders about important school safety.

Buster the Talking School Bus is a program offered by AAA of Rhode Island. Joanna Frageorgia, a specialist with the Public Affairs Traffic Safety Education Department, brings the remote-controlled talking bus to schools around the state.

“Buster the Bus reinforces lessons school students have had throughout the year,” Parillo explained while several groups of Winsor Hill first-graders sat in the gymnasium and marveled at every move that the yellow school bus made. “The children learn valuable safety lessons such as crossing the street.”

Buster blinked his eyes and sent out a sound as if he were sleeping – and snoring – as he did a swift-moving 360-degree turn, only to have the back door swing open.

“It’s a wonderful program that reinforces using booster seats and seat belts as well as bus and bicycle safety,” Parillo said.

Tuesday morning, Winsor Hill students engaged in interactive learning with Buster the Bus by singing songs such as “Buckle Up for Safety” and “The Wheels on the Bus.”

AAA also provided each student with a workbook, stickers and information sheet to bring home to their family.

“The Winsor Hill Elementary School community is happy to partner with AAA of Rhode Island,” Parillo said as she thanked Frageorgia for the morning’s unique presentation. “These are what we call excellent enrichment lessons.”

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