At a recent meeting with officials from the City of Guelph and Edward Johnson School, concerns were raised about the school bus drop off zone and parents driving their kids to school. Most kids go to school in a motor vehicle.
This raises a number of concerns. Childhood obesity has risen 50% in the last 15 years. In Canada, transportation accounts for 30% of greenhouse gas emissions. Idling buses and cars create poor local air quality that can reduce lung function in developing children.
One solution is walking school buses. This is an organized group of parents, youth, school officials and police coordinating groups of children to walk to school. Defined routes are created, older youth are trained in street crossings and first aid and parents provide a watchful eye.
Studies have shown that 40% of a child’s required physical exercise can be achieved through one hour of walking each day.
Many children do not even know where their house is in relation to the school. Kids sit in the back seat of the family SUV, oblivious to the direction the vehicle is taking.
By walking to school, children get fit, learn about their neighbourhood and have fun doing it. Schools can even organize contests. Each class keeps track of how far students are walking each day and add up the totals. Could they walk across Canada or even around the world?
October is International Walk to School Month.
More information can be found at:
The following link is to a presentation made to staff and members of council by Catherine O’Brien called Child and Youth Friendly Land Use and Transportation Guidelines for Ontario