Tuesday, 24 September 2013

Walking to School

Did you know that October 9th is International Walk/Bike to school day??

WARNING... This is gonna end in a challenge...

Our 2 boys (age 2 and 5) walk to school every morning. Do yours? Every morning we put on our coats and hats, grab our backpacks, and trot off to school. At the same time we leave, we watch our neighbours drive past in their cars.

We arrive at the daycare at the same time as Cuppa's friends. After he's checked in, we continue our walk to Buddy's school. It takes us about 15 minutes to get there, and 10 minutes for me to get back to the house sans kids.

The folks who drive, get into the schoolyard at the same we do. By the time parents deal with the parking at the school, and then get the kid out and off to the playground, they have saved no time at all. So why drive?

As autumn sets in we are enjoying fresh air and comfortable temperatures, leafs are changing, and friends are talking and sharing. There are crossing guards at all the busy intersections, and we get to repeat the ages old chant "Step on a crack, break your mother's back."

Parent Taking Child To Pre School

There are some nice pauses along the way too. Every morning we check the water under the bridge where the Chocolate River runs. I don't know why the boys decided its called the Chocolate River. They tell me it source is a chocolate lake. Who am I to question that.

Often I hear about how unsafe traffic is around the schools. I hear about near misses with kids running across the road and parents distracted by backseat shenanigans as they get close. I hear about obese kids and lazy kids and kids with no sense of direction. So here are some resources to help you get your kids out and walking to school. 10 minutes each way should be a good kickstart to get their blood moving (and yours) and should help get some of those cars off the road and make things safer around the schoolyard...

Back to The War Amps Home

SAFEWALK - War Amps of Canada - http://www.waramps.ca/playsafe/walk.html

The War Amps is all about safety for children. If you are worried about the dangers that come on your walk to school, consider their walksafe program to identify the sorts of hazards that your child could come in contact with. Things like wires and fences and snowbanks are all on their inventory for kids to beware of.

Safe Routes to School - http://www.saferoutestoschool.ca/

Safe Routes to School is an organization dedicated to safe walks for kids from an urban planning and transportation perspective. They are linked in to public health, but focus on the environment and congestion prevention. They offer some great community tools to get cars off the road. Things like walking schoolbus (our Daycare has one!) toolkits, School Administrator toolkits, idle free school zones, and school walking clubs are all covered by Safe Routes to School.

Participaction ® Let’s get moving.

Participaction Ontario - http://www.participaction.com/how-will-your-kids-get-to-school-this-year/

I am surprised that Ontario's "healthy living" group didn't have more of a walking to school program, but here is their article on walking and the benefits it offers. I stole their pic for the top of this blog post - at least until I get one of our boys...

Walk-bike to School Day - http://www.walkbiketoschool.org/

Ok, this is a USA - based program, but October 9th has been declared international Walk-Bike to school day. In order to encourage more kids to walk to school, everyone is challeneged to leave their cars at home,. and either join a walking group, ride their bike, or form an initiative to get as many kids as possible to walk or bike to school.

With all these tools at your disposal, lets see what you can do! On October 9th, I challenge everyone to get out there and walk to school with their kids.

Homeschoolers - take a walking adventure as part of your curriculum, or do the safety walk above.

Bloggers - I challenge you to get the word out about walk/bike to school day, and post some photos of your success! Lets see how many kids we can get out of the car and onto their feet!

1 comment:

  1. I was going to make a joke about how we walk all the way downstairs for school every day, but I see you made sure to cover homeschoolers ;). We do walks around the neighborhood almost every day....our longer walks are mostly to the frozen yogurt place that's about a mile and a half away....I think the fact that we eat frozen yogurt at the end might cancel out the benefits of walking there.....


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