October is International Walk to School Month, and October 3 is National Walk to School Day. These events give children, parents, and teachers an opportunity to be part of a world-wide event and celebrate the many benefits of walking to school.
A national event can be an amazing impetus for change in communities. A simple one-day event has led to great changes such as long-term walking and bicycling programs, new sidewalks and pathways, enforcement of unsafe driving behaviors and needed policy changes at schools and in communities. Improvements that normally take a long time to institute can happen quickly when city officials walk or bicycle to school with students and see firsthand what needs to be done.
Organized by the Partnership for a Walkable America, Walk to School Day in the USA began in 1997 as a one-day event aimed at building awareness for the need for walkable communities. In 2000, the event became international when the UK and Canada (both of which had already been promoting walking to school) and the USA joined together for the first International Walk to School Day. Growing interest in participation all over the world led the International Walk to School Committee to shifts its promotion to International Walk to School Month for the entire month of October.
There are many reasons to celebrate—safer and more accessible streets , healthier habits, and cleaner air to name just a few. Join in! Greater Mercer TMA is the Safe Routes to School coordinator for Mercer and Ocean Counties, and we will help you get an event off the ground!
Why Hold a Walk to School Day Event?
- Encourage physical activity
- Teach kids how to walk safety
- Raise awareness of how walkable your community is
- Raise concern for the environment
- Reduce crime
- Reduce traffic congestion, pollution, and speed near schools
Fun Walk to School activities:
- Develop a walking theme for a walk: crazy hair day; healthy lunch day; costume day, etc.
- Get a local “celebrity” (mayor, police officer, etc.) to come speak to the students
- Set up a competition with awards for the classes with the most walkers
- Organize a walking school bus from nearby neighborhoods
- Hold an educational assembly with guest speakers
- Give our awards for the class with the most walkers
Choose to celebrate a day, week, or the entire month!
If you’re in Mercer or Ocean Counties, Greater Mercer TMA can help you get a program off the ground and get your program registered at www.walkbiketoschool.org.
Contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org or 609-452-1491 — we’ll get you walking!