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The Walking Bus

By: Beth Morrisey MLIS - Updated: 12 Nov 2010 | comments*Discuss
 
The Walking Bus Walking Exercise Road

All across the country parents and teachers have noticed frightening trends. Our children are now larger and less active than ever, which means that they often also show less energy and interest in both their schoolwork and hobbies. Yet with simple changes to their daily routines, our children can fight their way back to being fit and fantastic. One easy yet effective way to start our children's days off right is to pack them off to school on the Walking Bus.

What is the Walking Bus?

Just as its name suggests, the Walking Bus is a group of walkers (usually children aged 5 to 11) that travel together on their way to school. The bus is staffed by adult volunteers, with a "driver" at the front and a "conductor" at the back. The walkers follow a route approved by a Road Safety Officer, collecting children at each predetermined "station." Along the way, children wear reflective vests for added safety.

Why Should I Consider the Walking Bus?

Where to begin? The advantages of the Walking Bus are many, including:
  • Your child will get a daily dose of exercise at the start of the day.
  • Fresh morning air will help jumpstart your child's day.
  • Children who walk to school are often considered more alert during classes.
  • Your child will be part of a visible, safe group for his/her "commute".
  • Your child will have a chance to socialise with peers.
  • Your child will learn road safety and independence.
  • Each child that walks, rather than is driven, means less air pollution from cars.
  • The fewer cars used to transport students means less traffic around our schools.
  • Volunteering to staff the bus helps parents get to know the school community.
  • Parents who staff the bus reap all of the benefits as well!

The Walking Bus Sounds Great, How Do I Find One For My Child?

Ask around at your child's school to see if a Walking Bus exists or is in the works. If it is not, consider creating one yourself!
  • Speak with a Headteacher to determine your school's interest.
  • Organise an information meeting for parents and to recruit volunteers.
  • Arrange a meeting with the local council, particularly if insurance is an issue.
  • Ask a Road Safety Officer to help plan your route.
  • Liaise with teachers to help "market" the Bus to students.
  • Begin walking your child to school to get in the groove.

Is That All?

That's all! The Walking Bus is safe, fun and good for your health, so join one today. Just remember to send your child off in sensible shoes, with a sturdy backpack, and slathered in sun cream. Let the fun begin!

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