Walk to School Week inspires thousands of children across the UK to take to their feet and reap the benefits of walking to school each day. If you usually drive to school this is a great time to give active travel a try.
During morning peak traffic times, one in five cars on the road are taking children school! This is contributing to congestion, air pollution and carbon emissions.
Walking to school offers SO MANY benefits – happier children more alert to learn, cleaner air, safer journeys, healthier families, financial savings, community atmosphere. Big wins!
Walk to School Week is a campaign from Living Streets, a UK charity that wants walking to be the natural choice for local journeys. Walk to School Week takes place during National Walking Month each May.
View this post on Instagram
Direct your school HERE to find out about all the resources and information Living Streets provide. While there is the flagship week, the charity works with schools year round to encourage active travel, so schools can get started at any time.
Parents, grandparents and carers can get involved straight away on their own. There are many resources HERE for parents, do check them out. Be sure to read this free FAMILY WALK TO SCHOOL KIT.
There are several common reasons parents give for driving their kid(s) to school – Living Streets has suggestions for incorporating active travel.
“We live too far away from the school to walk.”
Park and Stride – Consider driving part of the journey and walking the rest. By leaving your car a ten minute (or more) walk away from school, you’ll be making sure your child gets some of the benefits of walking to school. You’ll avoid creating congestion outside the school and you’ll get away quicker.
“I have to get to work quickly after school drop-off, I don’t have time to walk the kids.”
“I need to drop my youngest off at nursery and then drop the other kids at school, there’s no time to walk.”
Buddy up with other school families living near you – Kids love to walk to school with other kids! Find out who lives in your area that attends your school and take turns walking the kids to and from school. Sometimes known as a ‘walking bus’ this gives parents a break from going everyday as well. There will be so many parents doing the same commute, it makes sense to buddy up and take turns getting the neighbourhood kids to school and back. Many will have the same after-school clubs or younger siblings in nurseries as well, so just have a chat and see how you can work together to do the drops and collections on foot.
Try walking at least one way each day – If you must drive to drop off or pick up, stroll in one way – start the day off with a walk in together, they will arrive more alert to learn and you’ll be more alert for your day as well! Or walk home from school and hear about their day (or at least enjoy walking alongside them as they tell you it was ‘fine’ or say they can’t remember what they did!).
“My kids don’t want to walk, they say it’s boring.”
See ‘buddy up’ above, as kids love to be social and walk with other kids. You can also create I-spy games, see who can skip the furthest, practice road safety, bring the family dog along for the walk if you have one, or try to find objects that start with certain letters of the alphabet. Or practice reading street signs and house numbers as you walk along.
Wellies, rain jackets, fun umbrellas, and go! One of the benefits of walking to school is experiencing the environment, seeing the seasons and learning about nature. Get your weather appropriate gear ready and keep on walking. Many kids love rain anyway or don’t even really notice it.
“The roads are too polluted to walk along.”
Air pollution is much (up to 9–12 times) higher in cars compared to outside the car, and the benefits of walking far outweigh the cost of breathing in pollution.
For 90 years Living Streets has delivered campaigns and local projects that help people overcome barriers to walking. To learn more follow them here:
Website / Instagram / Twitter / Facebook
RELATED CONTENT > Clean Air for Schools Now: A Q&A with Mums for Lungs