Walking to School Good for the Body and Brain!
The start of school is quickly approaching, and you’re starting to think about the schedule, aren’t you? Consider building active transportation time into your family’s school schedule. Active transportation to school is exactly what it sounds like—children getting to school with foot power–walking or riding a bicycle, scooter, or skateboard. The mode doesn’t matter because all of it is physical activity, and is beneficial to your child’s health and education.
Physical activity helps prevent chronic diseases, including hypertension, diabetes, and obesity. It also contributes to bone and muscle health as children grow and develop. Physical activity has also been shown to positively affect your mood and brain health. For children, research shows that physical activity is good for memory, time on task, attention, and other elements important in academic performance.
Walking School Bus
One program some Johnson County schools have adopted is the Walking School Bus program. During the fall and spring, these schools select six days to promote active transportation to school. On the selected dates, parent volunteers walk identified routes with groups of children to ensure active and safe arrival to the schools. The following schools have active walking school buses for their students: Overland Trail Elementary, Green Springs Elementary, Bentwood Elementary, Corinth Elementary, Roesland Elementary, and Trailwood Elementary. Even without a Walking School Bus, your kids can participate in National Walk to School Day on October 4th. Last year, 44 county schools participated in the event, and even more will join in this year.
At Roesland Elementary School in Roeland Park, KS, parent advocates focused on encouraging biking to school after years of successful Walk to School days. A collaborative group spent the spring working on the built environment to reduce traffic and increase safe crosswalks. Students also participated in a bike safety, maintenance and education program to increase their skills for the Walk, Roll and Stroll event on May 4th. The group is hard at work again now, planning more walking and biking events for the coming year.