This guide contains a number of tips and pointers for making International Walk to School Month a hit at your school. For even better results, add a personal touch to make the event truly your own and encourage students to walk or bike to school on October 9 – or, for that matter, all week, all month or all year long!
WHO CAN GET INVOLVED?
Any school – whether you’re in the city, the country or somewhere in between. International Walk to School Month is open to all students, as well as their teachers, parents, friends and community leaders.
Be sure to be weather wise: have an umbrella and raincoat – or sunscreen and a cap – ready just in case!
MAKE IT FUN!
Here are a few suggested activities to make your Walk to School day, week or month event extra special:
- Take a look at the school travel calculator which your students can use to compare the impact of their daily transportation choices and to set individual and group goals. Here is an activity to use the calculator in classes.
- For students who take the school bus or live far away, plan a drop-off point about a kilometre away from the school where they can meet up with other walkers and cyclists. Have teacher or parent escorts join them to get everyone’s school day off on the right foot!
- Create teams of students and parents, on a neighbourhood-by-neighbourhood basis, and have them walk or bike to school together. Parents can “drive” a walking or biking school bus to make sure their young “passengers” learn and obey all the road safety rules.
- Set up a challenge for students to keep track of the collective distance they cover and plot the results on a map. Give them a specific target to aim for – for example, Montreal to Sherbrooke (147 km) or Quebec City to Miami (2,465 km) – adjusted based on the number of participants involved. Or why not heat things up a little by pitting different classes or schools against one another and see who travels the farthest?
- Extend your morning recess and hold a neighbourhood parade. Pick a theme (complete with costumes, musical instruments, etc.) and invite local residents, businesses and workers to join in the festivities. You can even ask the more ambitious and talented of your parent volunteers to serve as mascots, activity leaders, circus performers or musicians for the day. Get your students to create buttons, banners or posters, or have them dress a special way in keeping with your theme. Or encourage a little friendly competition and award prizes for the best-decorated bikes!
- Hold a contest to win the coveted “Golden Sneaker Award.” Spray-paint an old tennis shoe to make a one-of-a-kind trophy and present it to the most active class. Just make sure teachers keep track of the number of participating students (using the chart). Or organize a drawing or songwriting contest in line with the Walk to School theme.
- Hand out juice boxes and healthy snacks during the activity – check with your local grocery stores for sponsors.
- Walk the Globe: Share the fun and learning of walking to school with communities around the world! Partnering classrooms is an educational way to connect students to share their experiences of walking or biking to school. Register your class before the 2nd week of October to get matched.
- Remember to take lots of pictures!