Richmond’s Linwood Holton Elementary had more than 250 children, teachers, parents and community members participate in their Walk to School Day 2012 event.
Walk (or Bike) to School Days are important first steps in supporting yearlong walking and biking routes to school. On Walk or Bike to School Days, schools and communities work together to make the trip to school safer for students, promote physical activity and engage the entire community in active transportation. Studies show that students who walk to school are more physically active during the day and have better academic achievement, enhanced concentration and better classroom behavior.
- Promote the learning of safety skills
- Reinforce the importance of physical activity
- Create safe neighborhoods for children to walk or bike to school
- Incorporate school principals, administrators, teachers and parents
- Establish a new Tradition in your school system
- Reduce the community’s carbon footprint
Annual Walk or Bike to School Days are a great start and can often grow into more yearlong events. Many schools have used Walk to School Days to start and promote student walking clubs, install bike racks, or begin something like a Walking Wednesdays program.
When to Host Walk or Bike to School Days
- International Walk to School Day: October 9, 2013
- National Bike to School Day: May 8, 2013
- Earth Day: April 22, 2013
- Physical Fitness and Sports Month: Month of May
- Costumed Walk to School Day: Halloween
- Anniversary of the School
Jumpstarting a Walk
Get the school and surrounding neighborhoods on board. Reach out to local businesses that are willing to help. Some may offer to host a designated starting place for your walk. The more community members who are involved, the more successful it will be!
Establish the starting point/location, and how children will get there (parents drop them off, ride the bus to the starting point, etc.). Notify local law enforcement of the date, time, location and expected number of attendees. Schools can designate remote drop-off locations from a set distance away for those commuters to meet, and have everyone walk from there. For students and parents who arrive at the starting point early, offer some active games for them to play while they wait for the others to arrive.
Register your event at www.walkbiketoschool.org.
Before the event, notify school faculty and staff so they can start getting the students excited about the opportunity. Let parents know so they can begin to make plans for that day. Invite local media or other groups in the area to join the fun!
At the walk, have event leaders to help everyone stay organized, on schedule and to stay on-route. Designate one volunteer to speak with any media members that arrive. Take pictures and videos of the children walking to school together and having fun! Record the number of students, parents, teachers and other community members participating in the walk.
After the Walk
Hold an assembly and share with students, parents and teachers the importance of walking to school and offer ways to sustain walking routes all year round. Send out letters or certificates of appreciation for participants, guests and volunteers to thank them especially for their efforts to run a successful Walk to School Day. Then start planning for the next Walk to School Day!