Friday, 24 May 2013

Walk to School Week

This week, I've been encouraging children and parents to swap cars, buses and trains for a ticket to stride during Walk to School Week.

Walk to School Week (20-24 May) is an opportunity for parents and children across the UK to try walking to school. Along with Walk to Work Week (13-17 May), Walk to School Week forms a part of National Walking Month, a month dedicated to celebrating the benefits of walking.

I visited Hindley Green J&I School to help promote the week. Living Streets runs the national Walk to School campaign, and the national charity says parents find the journey to school less stressful, their petrol bill goes down, their children perform better at school and that they, and their children, feel healthier and fitter.

The walk to school is not only a good way to build some exercise into your child’s day, it’s also helps them to learn valuable road skills, get to know their neighbourhood and build confidence and independence.  We all often feel under pressure and short of time, but Walk to School Week is a great opportunity to give walking a go and the Living Streets website has lots of ideas and ‘feats for your feet’ that will make it fun and challenging.  Getting children into the habit of seeing walking as the natural choice for short trips, will reap health benefits in the future.

Teachers even report that those pupils who walk to school are more attentive once they reach their desks.

Over the past couple of decades, the number of children walking to school has fallen sharply. In 2011, 49 per cent of primary school aged children and 38 per cent of secondary school aged children walked to school, down from 62 per cent of primary and 48 per cent of secondary school aged children in 1991.

However Living Streets’ Walk once a Week (WoW) scheme bucks the trend. It helped nearly 6,800 schools and over 1.9 million children and young people get walking across the UK last year – with a recent project seeing a rise of 32% in children walking.

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