Before & After School

  • Step-By-Step Guide: How to Start a Walking School Bus at School

    Communities across the nation are implementing Safe Routes to School (SRTS) programs. SRTS programs improve safety conditions and increase the number of students walking to and from school. A walking school bus program can help reduce air pollution, increase the number of students walking and bicycling, and give children and adults an opportunity to get some exercise and socialize, all while getting to school on time!

    What is a Walking School Bus? A walking school bus is a safe and fun way for children to be physically active as they travel to and from school. Each “bus” walks along a set route with one or more adults leading it, picking children up at designated stops along a predetermined route and walking them to school. The process is reversed in the afternoons on the way home from school. It is that easy. You may find that families are already doing this with their children and would be delighted to help more students get to school in this healthy, safe and fun way!

    Click here to view a step-by-step guide how to plan and organize a walking school bus using adult volunteers as leaders. The guide outlines how to plan and implement a walking school bus for your school, and includes proven tools, tips and resources for a fast and easy start. Whether or not you are familiar with SRTS, this guide will get you started on the right foot.

  • 11 Safety Tips: How to Walk to School Safely

    Walking to school can have multiple benefits for you and your kids such as spending time outdoors and starting the day with physical activity. However, with drivers distracted by texting, tweeting and phone calls, the danger of walking to school has increased over the years. While it’s important that drivers are alert, kids should be too.

    During the back-to-school season, emergency departments see an increase in trauma-related pedestrian, bicycle and school bus injuries. Many of these injuries result from a collision with a vehicle and are preventable by following some simple safety guidelines.

    To help prevent pedestrian accidents, teach kids traffic safety rules and other ways to pay attention to safety while walking.

    Pedestrian Safety Tips

    These pedestrian safety tips from Children’s Healthwill keep your child safe while they walk to school.

    • Children should walk with an adult until they are at least ten years old.
    • Map out safe routes to school with your children before they head out on their own.
    • Kids should hold a grown-up’s hand when they cross the street or are in parking lots.
    • Always cross the street at a corner or at a crosswalk and obey traffic signals; cross with a crossing guard if there is one.
    • Walk on a sidewalk. If there is no sidewalk, walk on the left side of the street, facing oncoming traffic.
    • Look left, then right, then left again before crossing the street. Continue looking while you cross.
    • Make sure children wear light-colored or bright clothing to be more visible to drivers.
    • Do not cross behind the bus or between parked cars where a driver cannot see you.
    • Always make eye contact with drivers before you cross the street.
    • Encourage kids to stay off cell phones and think twice about wearing earphones. Kids should be able to hear their surroundings when walking to school.
    • Children will model the behavior of adults, so be mindful of pedestrian rules to set a good example and keep kids safe.

    How to Evaluate Safe Routes to School

    Each year, coalitions from Safe Kids Walk This Way have created local task forces with the goal of improving safety along school routes. Examples of things these groups evaluate include:

    • If there is a curb at the school entrance
    • If pedestrian safety lights and countdown timers are available where needed
    • If crossing signs are in place where needed
    • If crosswalks are easy to see and if there are flashing lights to alert drivers
    • If safety levels would be increased with solar-powered flashing school zone and speed limit signs
    • If speedboards or flexiposts would help slow down traffic

    You can check for these safety measures by taking a practice walk around your child’s route.

    Shared Use Agreement: What is it and How to Establish One

    What is a Shared Use Agreement (SUA) used for? 

    A SUA is a formal agreement between two separate government entities that set forth the terms and conditions for shared use of public property or facilities. Community organizations, schools and local governments can use SUAs as an effective and affordable strategy to improve health within their community by increasing opportunities for children and their families to be physically active. Increasing access to recreational spaces is particularly important in low-income communities, where parks and recreational facilities are often lacking, but where risk of obesity and chronic disease are high.

    How do I implement a Shared Use Agreement (SUA) at my school? 

    Penn State PRO Wellness in partnership with the Pennsylvania State Alliance of YMCAs, has created FREE Shared Use Agreement (SUA) webinar to help organizations develop an effective and affordable shared space strategy. Creating a successful SUA can have sustainable, positive impacts on the well-being of the community. Learn how to successfully share spaces with local school districts and increase access to recreational spaces. Help improve the health within your community by watching the FREE SUA webinar.

    Click here to watch an additional webinar about Joint Use Agreements: Working Together to Create a Healthier Community.

  • How to Create Intramural Sports and Active Programming

    Intramural sports are just one option for instituting a before-or after-school physical activity program. Click here to view a printable organizational guide to help plan a successful intramural program.

    Fun fitness classes like Zumba® and yoga are also great options for kids that are non-competitive and may appeal to a different group of students both in and outside a classroom setting. It is important to provide students with choices that appeal to their individual interest to encourage all students to participate in physical activity and bring healthy choices to life! If you are interested in learning more about active program options click each example below:

Move it Outside with CSPAP!

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Shared Use Agreement Webinar

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Joint Use Agreements: Working Together to Create a Healthier Community

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Childcare Family Engagement

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Energy Balance Infographic Poster


Energy Balance Quick Tips (English)


Energy Balance Quick Tips (Spanish)


Deskercises Infographic Poster


Health and Academics Infographic


Exercise for Life Infographic Poster


Get Your 60 Infographic Poster


Importance of Recess Infographic Poster


Aerobic Activity Guide


Anaerobic Activity Guide


Bone-Strengthening Activity Guide


Cognitive Activity Guide


Muscle-Strengthening Activity Guide


Active Schools

Active Schools provides resources for parents and teachers to promote physical activity in children before, during, and after school for at least 60 minutes a day.

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Afterschool Alliance

The Afterschool Alliance is working to ensure that all children have access to affordable, quality afterschool programs. Afterschool programs are critical to children and families today, yet the need for programs is far from being met.

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Alliance for a Healthier Generation: Healthy Activities During Out-of-School Time

Select the “Physical Activity” topic area after logging in to explore videos, printables, websites and curricula designed to help you make healthy changes at your school or in an out-of-school time environment.

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Change Lab Solutions

Increase availability of physical activity spaces with a joint use agreement (JUA). A JUA is a formal agreement between two separate government entities–often a school and a city or county–setting forth the terms and conditions for shared use of public property or facilities.

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Fuel Up to Play 60

Fuel Up to Play 60 promotes physical education and nutrition to build healthy schools. If you enroll in their program you are eligible to apply for grants of up to $4,000 per academic year to “jumpstart healthy changes.”

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Healthy Kids Out of School

Healthy Kids Out of School is an initiative of ChildObesity180 in collaboration with Tufts University. In 2011, the initiative convened leaders from nine of the nation's leading out-of-school-time organizations to develop and adopt universal nutrition and physical activity principles from a broad list of evidence-based recommendations for combating childhood obesity.

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This program is a FREE, multifaceted youth fitness program developed by the Big Sur Marathon Foundation. It not only promotes exercise and the sport of running but also good citizenship and healthy eating through its Just Deeds and Just Taste features. Virtual runs across the USA and Europe link points of interest and geographical and historical sites making it educational as well. 

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