FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE CONTACT:
September 27, 2012 Cheryl J. Lipton
Students and parents from local schools will be joining community leaders and schools from around the nation and the world to celebrate Walk to School Day on October 3, 2012.
The event will begin at 8:30 with parents, children, and community leaders, walking from various locations. The groups are expected to arrive at Woodland Elementary School at approximately 8:55 am. Everyone is encouraged to participate. Contact Cheryl J. Lipton for more information.
Held on the first Wednesday of every October, Walk to School Day is an internationally recognized day to celebrate the benefits of walking by encouraging schoolchildren to walk and bicycle to school. Pennsylvania joins in the celebration that day by urging schools across the commonwealth to take part in its Walk or Roll to School Day.
“Participating in Walk or Roll to School Day is a great way to showcase how walking and bicycling to school can help to reduce congestion and fossil fuel consumption, while improving air quality and overall student health,” said Chris Metka, Pennsylvania’s Safe Routes to School coordinator. “In a time when communities are faced with escalating childhood obesity rates, tight school budgets, and volatile fuel prices, it’s never been more important for schools to explore the benefits of encouraging children to walk or bicycle to school and providing safe routes so they can do so.”
In Pennsylvania, Walk or Roll to School Day is supported by the Pennsylvania Safe Routes to School Resource Center on behalf of the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation and is part of a statewide effort to promote and encourage safer routes to school. For more information, contact the center at www.saferoutespa.org, email@example.com, or (717) 763-0930 (ask for Safe Routes).
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Benefits for your children
1. Fitness and health
Most of us are very aware that childhood obesity is rising fast – in 2008, 31% of children between the ages of 2 and 15 were overweight or obese. As you’ll read in Walking for Health, children need at least an hour of physical activity per day, and walking to school is a great way to get some of that exercise.
There are also concerns about the level of pollution that children are exposed to sitting inside cars in congested or slow moving traffic. When planning your walking journey to school, it may well be possible to find a route which is quiet or traffic-free, and walking through green spaces such as parks can make you feel calmer and happier.
2. Concentration at school
Evidence shows that children who are physically active on the way to school burn off some of their excess energy, and are more able to settle down and focus well in lessons.
3. Road safety skills
Good habits learned young are learned well. Teaching your child to walk safely to school will stand them in good stead for the rest of their life.
4. Socialising and independence
If your child joins a walking bus, or is old enough to walk to school with friends, they will have extra time in the day to build friendships, and feel comfortable around other people. And most teenagers, like all of us, need time to themselves – walking home can be a great time to think, relax, and mull over their day.
From an article in the Columbia Daily Tribunei at http://www.columbiatribune.com/news/2012/sep/27/schools-look-at-benefits-of-getting-kids-walking/:"A 2008-09 study at West Boulevard Elementary School found that daily walking to school correlated with students' reading ability, but not with writing ability. In the study, kids who walked to school improved their reading level by an average of 26.5 percent, compared with 4.8 percent for non-walkers. Peter Stiepleman, who is the district's assistant superintendent for elementary education and was principal at West Boulevard at the time of the study, also said he saw behavioral improvements."
Here are some more good links for information on the benefits of walking to school: