Sunday, June 27, 2010

New Rage: The Walking School Bus

Schools across the country are embracing the Walking School Bus. This program, led by parents, high school students and volunteers, help to provide children a safe and fun way to get to school. In times when bus programs are discontinued due to budget cuts, the ever-increasing gas prices, and of course the rise in childhood obesity statistics - this program offers a solution to many of the challenges schools face today.

Here's how it works: In neighborhoods surrounding schools, a group of volunteers walk along a pre-determined route stopping at various points to "pick up" children along the way. The group continues to walk until they reach school.

According to a walking school bus is a group of children walking to school with one or more adults. If that sounds simple, it is, and that’s part of the beauty of the walking school bus. It can be as informal as two families taking turns walking their children to school to as structured as a route with meeting points, a timetable and a regularly rotated schedule of trained volunteers.

Some Benefits:
• Increases daily physical activity for children and adults in the neighborhood
• Reduces auto traffic in and around the neighborhood and school
• Reduces the costs of transportation
• Reduces the amount of air polution caused from busses
• Ensures the saftey of children walking to school as a group as opposed to alone
• Increases community cohesion by helping neighbors get to know one another

While the Walking School Bus should not be a replacement for PE class, it is a way to increase the amount of activity children receive in a day.

Learn more about the Walking School Bus (including a step-by-step implementation guide) and communities who implement it:
Walking School
Safe Routes to School: Online Guide
Missouri takes on childhood obesity one step at a time
Springfield (MO) Elementary Schools and Ozark YMCA


1 comment:

Melanie said...

I love this - so creative! Think they would have traveled 10 miles down a dirt road to "pick me up?" :)