This week is Walk to School Week.
Did you know that? I certainly wasn't informed by our school, I even checked last week's newsletter and there's nothing in it. But I did find out from other routes; mainly from my previous life (as a civil engineer and workshop facilitator for multi modal studies and local transport plans) where walking buses are encouraged by district and local councils.
So what is Walk to School Week?
It is run by the Walk to School Campaign who also organise the walk to school month in October.
It's pretty simple really; we are all encouraged to walk our children to school every day this week (16th to 20th May 2011).
I am proud to say that I walk Rachel to school every single morning; rain, wind, snow or sun. We walk with other families in the area and enjoy the chats as much as the walk itself. There are 2 days a week when I can not leave my church commitments in time to get home and walk up to school for school pick up. But on these days I leave the car at church, walk to school, collect Rachel and then we walk to church to collect the car. I deem this to be good enough to be classified walking to and from school; it certainly does not create any additional local traffic, cause dangerous parking or add extra car trips.
So why am I so passionate about walking to school?
Two reasons really:
1 - exercise; without the walk to and from school I would not get much exercise and I have really seen the difference now I walk a couple of miles every day.
2 - time together; the time walking to school is the perfect opportunity for Rachel to share with me any concerns she has about the day. And the walk home is even more important; I normally get a full commentary of her day, hearing all sorts of things which I doubt I would in the car. It is our time for sharing.
I am however well aware of the barriers to walking to school.
- There are days when walking home from school in the morning is a mad rush because I have a meeting somewhere at 9am; it would certainly be less stressful for me to drive to school.
- There are far too many cars on the roads in the morning which drive too fast or just seem unaware of the kids on the pavements; just this morning a car came whizzing past school on the wrong side of the road at a heck of a speed.
- Those who drive to school sometimes park irresponsibly which makes crossing the roads unsafe.
And what's the answer to these problems = having less cars on the road = more parents walking their kids to school.
So please, if you possibly can, please try to walk your kids to school this week; give it a go, see the benefits, it's definitely better for your community.