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.
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 Health℠ will keep your child safe while they walk to school.
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:
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 a 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.
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: