Stride out this Walk to School Week
Published Monday 30th September 13
Let's see if we can do better than ever!
Iain Reid, East Lothian Council’s School Travel Co-ordinator, is encouraging children and parents to swap cars and buses for a ‘ticket to stride’ during Walk to School Week.
Walk to School Week (7-11 October) is an opportunity for parents and children across the UK to try walking to school. There are two Walk to School Weeks every year, in May and October.
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.
Walking to school regularly is not only a fantastic way to encourage an active lifestyle, it is also a great opportunity to teach your children vital road safety skills and ensure they are alert and ready to learn at the start of a new day.
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.
Iain was at St Mary’s RC Primary in Haddington this week, presenting one of May’s Walk to School Week winning schools with their Walk to School Week banner. The other most improved schools in May were Macmerry Primary, Saltoun Primary, Wallyford Primary, West Barns Primary and Whitecraig Primary.
“Walking is key to fighting childhood obesity, but it can also be beneficial to children in other ways, helping children to learn vital road safety skills, to interact with their local environment and to become ‘streetwise’ and develop independence.
“We have a proud tradition in East Lothian when it comes to Walk to School Week, which we have been taking part in for over ten years. In May, 91% of children taking part in East Lothian came to school on foot, bike or scooter – let’s see if we can do even better in the October Walk to School Week. Parents and carers, please leave the car at home and try stepping out for Walk to School week next week.”
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