Friday, October 21, 2011

Walk To School Days Celebrate Exactly That

October is International Walk To School Month. Safe Routes Philly has been helping Philadelphia schools celebrate by providing a variety of resources to encourage students and their parents to walk (or bike) to and from school. One such encouragement tool is a Walk To School Day. A handful of schools have or are going to hold them this month, including Willard Elementary in Kensington.

Willard Elementary held their Walk To School Day on October 5th to coincide with the launch of their reoccurring Walking School Bus. (For information on how Safe Routes Philly helped Willard obtain a grant to start that bus, read here.) Willard's first-graders gathered in the schoolyard in the morning and welcomed the Walking School Bus's arrival with pom-poms, noise-makers, and (frankly adorable) posters.

In an urban environment, it seems intuitive that children would walk to school most days of year. Student travel tally reports from schools indicate, however, that many parents are choosing to drop children off at school even if they live one mile or less from the school. With 40.7% of Philadelphia children overweight or obese, any increase in daily physical activity is critically important. Walk to School Days are a way to encourage children to walk to school while highlighting the health, attendance, and attention-in-class benefits that come with starting a day with a nice walk.

For more information on how Safe Routes Philly can help your community school encourage active transportation, contact our Community Representatives.