Safety Village

Safety Village

Safety Village is a two-week summer safety camp where children learn about safety in a hands-on way

A child-size "village," complete with buildings, streets, traffic lights, and pedal-driven cars, provides a setting where children can prepare and practice real-life situations.

Safety Village is located at Grant Wood Elementary School, 1930 Lakeside Drive, Iowa City. Enrollment is limited to children who have completed kindergarten up to age 8. Registration fee is $75 per child. Scholarships are available. Online registration is not available if requesting a scholarship. You will need to call 319-358-2658 for a registration form.

Safety Village is staffed by a certified director, paid staff, and community volunteers, with participants organized into small groups for plenty of individual attention. 

Call Mercy On Call, 358-2767, for more information.

Promotional Video

Injuries are a leading cause of death for school-age children in the United States. Many of these tragedies are preventable with the help of the children themselves, who can learn life-saving skills even at a very young age.
In Iowa City, local volunteers have converted basic safety education into a summer day camp for children ages five to seven. Safety Village, located on the grounds of the Grant Wood Elementary School, is a child-sized town, complete with streets, traffic lights, crosswalks, and pedal cars.

Since opening in 1994, nearly 200 children per year participate in Safety Village. For two weeks each summer, kids enrolled at Safety Village learn pedestrian and car safety, and get experience with staying safe around water, on bicycles, near railroads, at the playground, on a farm, and even in their own backyards. They ride pedal cars each day on the miniature streets, guided by real police officers and fire fighters, to learn safety rules. They use donated telephones to practice using 911. Children even get some hands-on experience with fire emergencies, when they learn how to safely exit a small model home containing artificial smoke.

Safety Village makes liberal use of local professionals to give a real-world point of view. Police officers, fire fighters, animal control officers, paramedics, and park rangers bring their stories and often their gear to share with campers. The curriculum also includes role-playing activities, story times, art projects, and an ongoing journal of writing and drawing to reinforce concepts.

The inspiration for Safety Village was a similar child-sized village in Hinsdale, Ill., built by the parents of a young girl who was killed by a car. Iowa City family doctor Chuck Skaugstad brought the idea to Iowa City, organizing a group of volunteers to build the $100,000 facility with in-kind donations of materials and labor.

Safety Village is governed by a Board of Directors and a committee of very dedicated people.

Bill Erb, Coralville Fire Department
Ashten Hayes, Iowa City Police Department
Denise Maier, Mercy Iowa City
Alan Mebus, retired Iowa City Police Officer
Barb Murphy, Iowa Children's Museum
Tonya Naughton, UIHC
Kyle Nicholson, Coralville Police Department
Chuck Skaugstad, Founder
Donald Strong, UI Police Department
Bryan Watson, Knutson Construction
George Werner, Johnson County Sheriff Department
Iowa City Fire Department members

Stacy Fischer, Director
Christina Watts, Co-Director