Here is a press release for next week’s Walk-to-School Day. Beach, Havens, and Wildwood elementary schools are all participating. Remember, “It’s cool to walk to school!”
WEDNESDAY OCTOBER 22 IS PIEDMONT WALK TO SCHOOL DAY
Families from all three Piedmont elementary schools are being encouraged to walk, bike, scooter, and carpool to school on Wednesday October 22. The event is being organized by the “Green Committees” of the elementary schools’ Parents’ Clubs. The hope is to have sidewalks approaching all the schools filled with walkers, and the drop-off zones nearly empty of cars that day. Piedmont Walk to School Day also aims to encourage families to rethink how they travel over the long term, including the daily trip to school. Organizers believe that, for a community where so many of the families live within a quarter to half a mile of their schools, Piedmont really should be able to lower its rates of car use for school commute purposes.
Organizers are encouraging neighbors and families of classmates to make plans together ahead of time for how they can arrive at school together that day by foot, bicycle, carpool – or any other safe option that cuts down on the number of single family cars arriving at school. October 22nd is a “minimum day” for the Piedmont elementary schools, with all students on the same 8:30 a.m. start schedule (except for Piedmont Language School students, who start at 8:00 a.m.).
Already, some elementary families who used to drive are experimenting with forming their own “walking school buses.” A walking school bus is a group of children walking to school with one or more adults. It can be as informal as two families taking turns walking their children to school, or more structured, as a route with meeting points, a timetable and a regularly rotated schedule of volunteers. Families need to meet together ahead of time, decide on the safest route from their neighborhood to school, review pedestrian safety skills with the children, and set some basic guidelines for their “bus” (for example, that the “bus” does not wait for latecomers, and families who are running late must get their children to school by other means.) The Centers for Disease Control recommends adult to child ratios of 1:3 for children ages 4-6, 1:6 for children ages 7-9, and says that fewer adults may be necessary for children ages 10 and older. For more information about walking school buses, go to http://www.saferoutesinfo.org/guide/walking_school_bus/ or http://www.walkingschoolbus.org/
The motivation behind walk-to-school efforts at the elementary schools is not only to improve traffic safety at drop-off and pick-up, but also to promote exercise, encourage community building, and help families be more “green” – by decreasing their fuel use (and reducing their carbon footprint) and giving kids and families more time to be outdoors.
Piedmont Walk to School Day is part of International Walk to School Month. Across the United States and the rest of the world, communities are coming together to promote alternatives to driving to school.
For more information, contact the schools’ Parents’ Clubs’ Green Committee Chairs: Havens – Katherine O’Connor firstname.lastname@example.org; Wildwood – Suzanne Lane email@example.com; Beach – Margaret Ovenden firstname.lastname@example.org