Plan a “Walk to School Day” For Next Weds.

Hi Readers! This coming Weds., Oct. 6 is Walk to School Day.

I know, I know — it’s sad we have to actually PLAN what should be an everyday occurence. What next, Brush Your Teeth Day? Put The Toilet Seat Down Day? (Though come to think of it…) But anyway, here’s the official link to the Day, sponsored by Safe Routes to School, and here are their tips on gearing up:

Plan a Walk to School event in 7 days

Walk to School Day events draw attention to the benefits of walking and any changes needed to make it safer for students to walk to school. Larger events include breakfasts, balloons, school mascots, and press conferences.

Many events are simpler. In fact, it’s possible to plan a Walk to School event in one week. Here are some tips:

  1. Get the principal’s approval.
  2. Post flyers at school (available at www.walktoschool.org/resources/flyers.cfm). If your school has an e-newsletter or listserv, send an announcement that way. The event doesn’t have to be formal — just inviting families to walk or bicycle to school together is what the Day is all about.
  3. On Tuesday, October 6, make an intercom announcement to remind students to walk to school on Wednesday.
  4. Register the event at www.walktoschool.org/register so that students and the school will be counted among the thousands of participants across the USA and worldwide.
  5. Create posters that will greet students when they arrive at school on October 7. Potential phrases include “Thanks for walking,” “It’s Walk to School Day” or “It’s cool to walk to school!”
  6. Have fun! And remember your success for next year, when you can plan a bigger event or repeat the simple path.

Walk on! — Lenore

16 Responses

  1. Our school (4th & 5th grade) recently introduced “walk to school Fridays” The kids LOVE it. But it is a little ridiculous. The buses drive right past the school to a church 1/4 mile away. Seems simple enough, right? My free range kids couldn’t believe that it was neccesary to have a dozen teachers and parents along the way to keep an eye on things. This is a quiet neighborhood with sidewalks and a couple of small crossings. Still not sure what they are worried about. Kidnapping? Getting lost? Tripping?

    If anyone out there feels the need to organize a walk to school this link explains it all. http://www.walkingschoolbus.org/

    It is suggested that 1 grownup is needed for every 6 kids. Much planning is involved between parents & school. Don’t forget to walk the route without the kids ahead of time so you can check out the many hazards out there!

    At least it will get the kids outside and maybe get some exercise. As long as they don’t get too far ahead of the grownups. One of the rules for our walk to school day is no running. (which my kids blatantly ignored)

  2. Article in the NYT abour walking to school.

    http://www.nytimes.com/2009/09/13/fashion/13kids.html?_r=1

  3. Our school is participating. They have for several years. The only thing that bugs my kids is that all the “walkers” get stickers. They don’t because they walk all the way to school instead of being bussed to the drop off point and then walking.
    They are given stickers as they get off the bus.
    Of course, we only live 3 houses down from the elementary school, but they walk in *all* weather.

  4. Probably won’t be happening at this Saratoga School.

  5. Would be easier if my kids’ school wasn’t on the other side of a highway.

  6. K, you are actually the target audience for walk to school day – those who need to pressure their local officials to add pedestrian accomodations on the route.

    So, If I understand the other comments, many schools just bus the kids anyway and then have them walk the last little bit?

  7. For the last three years I’ve walked with my daughter to school on walk-to-school day. Now she’s changed school, her new school (in the same district) doesn’t participate, probably because the only roads to this school lack sidewalks, and are 35mph roads with lots of traffic during rush hour. I’ve tried looking on google for a path through the woods, but then there’s a river in the way….So there’s no solution (until they put those sidewalks in, here’s hoping one day…)

  8. I don’t know. It sounds kind of silly. Sort of like bringing in consultants to teach kids how to play playground games, or structuring creative play by handing the kids all their lines…if the kids live close enough to walk, they are free to walk. it’s not illegal. If they live far away, well…then busing them to within 1/4th a mile and then having them walk 1/4th a mile for a big show just seems kind of silly…If it’s about exercise, how about national run around the field in a big circle 6 times day? So one day of a year, kids walk 1/4th a mile to school after riding the bus, and that accomplishes…what, exactly?

    My daughter rides the bus. I was surprised the bus has a stop so close to the school. (It’s just 3/4th a mile away, and when I was a kid, the nearest bus stop was over 1 mile away from the school), but my son’s preschool schedule doesn’t allow me to walk her to school, and she is 5 and still too young to walk alone. However, she begged me to meet her so she can walk home once or twice a week (which my schedule permits), and I happily agreed, because she was thrilled at the idea of getting to go with the “walkers” (all of whom must live within 1 block of the school, or walk to parked, waiting cars within 1 block of the school). We just started this, and we got to the home bus stop about 5 minutes after the bus (loading time and such). She had a blast, but it was kind of sad for me to see that, for at least 3/4th of the walk, she was the ONLY child walking home. So even when she IS old enough to walk that paltry 3/4th of a mile by herself, who would she walk it with? All the kids in our neighbourhood are on the bus, and I don’t think their parents would dream of letting them walk to school at age 8, 9, 10, or 11. I fear judgment. I admit it. I do.

    The only thing that would get kids to walk to school was if the bus did NOT stop so near the school to pick kids up. And, in fact, I lived in the same neighborhood as a kid as I do now, and there were NO bus stops in my neighborhood then, and ALL the kids walked to school. But at some point between when I moved away and when I moved back to this area, walking to school was apparently deemed unsafe.

  9. My oldest’s elementary school is planninng to build a new building. With better parking and a separate bus entrance. With no sidewalks in the surrounding neighborhoods (the school will have sidewalks on it’s property).

    The current building us tucked back in a nice neighborhood, although 4-lane roads have cut back significantly on the kids able to walk/bike there alone (no crossing guards across busy roads. They say “take the bus”). At least I can walk there with her myself next Wednesday (it’s 3 miles, so we usually use the bus), but the school won’t participate because of “safety issues”.

    BTW, I walked almost a mile to school, by myself, from Kindergarten on. Scratch that. Mom joined me for the first few blocks, where she caught the bus to her job. Then I was on my own. That’s how I learned not to be afraid of dogs, improved my time management (don’t dawdle!), and learned a lot about self-reliance and socialization.

  10. My girls (1st & 3rd grade) go to a magnet school so no one walks because no one lives in the neighborhood where the school is located. We participate in walk to school day every year and they love it. The whole school (kids, parents, faculty) meets at a church about 1/4 mile away, the church members feed us breakfast and we all walk together. I’m not sure if it accomplishes anything, but it’s fun and I’m all for that.

  11. Our subdivision has 400+ homes, all too close for the school to provide bus service for K-2. I can’t believe the number of kids who get dropped off in the nicest weather, and parents who don’t even let their kids out until the are right in front of the entry door.

    Granted, we live only about a block from school (and across the street), but we walk nearly every day. Exceptions are preschool mornings, because my son has to be across town about 5 minutes after I drop off my 1st grader. I would LET her walk alone, but she doesn’t want to!

    Today, it was raining and I was one of only 2 adults and about 4 older siblings (none old enough to drive) picking up walkers after school. The car pick up “line” was up to three lines in the parking lot today. Crazy!

  12. We walked and biked. So do our kids when deemed old enough for the distance. We carpool where necessary (it is 8 plus kilometers to youngests school). He will ride some days next year as there is now a really good bike path (he is 11). Eldest has been riding all this year (2 km) and will continue to do so next year (4 km). No excuses accepted short of a broken leg :)

    They have walked home since they were 5 and 7, catching buses when necessary so they are pretty independent now. I think the funniest thing is my friends daughter (12) refuses point blank to be ferried home by her mother who is a complete helicopter. So her mother now goes to the school and picks up her schoolbag! Now thats independence :) I should add than nearly everyone walks home from school round here and it seems odd what you lot have to go through just to get home after school.

    viv in nz

  13. My boys go to a Montessori school that is participating, and has for the last few years. For those who don’t live close enough to walk, they meet at a business a few blocks away and walk together. They carry the schools giant peace dove (http://www.rootsandshoots.org/campaigns/dove) and it makes for a fun morning. We live so close that we just walk from our house. There are no sidewalks for about half the way and cars just zoom by! This is why I don’t let them walk alone just yet. Usually they ride the bus because they think its fun and they like to socialize. Once my youngest (6) gets better with his bike skills they will be riding to school. There is no bike rack outside but they have permission to leave their bikes in the greenhouse.

  14. My daughter’s old school did this. It was great, even though we always walked anyhow. They handed out fresh fruit to walkers at corners along with stickers.

  15. Our school is participating too, but I wonder how much the other parents will buy into this? This is a topic near and dear to our town mayor’s heart, but a lot of the parents seem to feel that (a) it’s too far for their kids to walk and (b) too unsafe (never mind that we could easily organize ‘walking school buses” and have sidewalks all over town).

    Since we live near the school, it’s a no brainer. However, I am tired of way too much traffic congesting the nearby streets — even for me to get home in time to get my daughter is an exercise in futility. The powers that be (the schools) have been trying to get parents to walk or carpool, but I don’t see it happening as much as it should. About less than half of those who live a reasonable distrance from the school actually walk there!

  16. I think should be all ready walking to school. Yes I agree if it on the side of the highway its another situation.

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