On Wednesday, October the 8 schools across San Francisco will be celebrating International Walk & Roll to School Day. This global event has exploded in popularity since its inception in 1997, when it was just a one-off event. Today, the annual celebration takes place with students from over 40 countries around the world, walking or rolling to school. With greater participation each year, now is the time to get your kids involved and reap the many benefits of walking to school.
Last year, San Francisco had a record-breaking 76 schools and 13,000 students participate in this fun, citywide event. This year, you can help grow Walk & Roll to School Day to include 90 schools & 15,000 students across the city!
Did you know, while 42% of SF elementary school students live within walking distance of school, only 26% of students ever do? If you have a child, don’t miss the chance celebrate Walk & Roll to School Day!
Walking to school offers your child an opportunity to experience the world around them and discover the everyday, natural wonders of their neighborhood, first hand. Walking together gives you the chance to explain to your children about how their actions are helping the environment. Plus, the sense of adventure a child feels walking along the path to school, completely trumps the plain, old journeys of sitting in the passenger seat of the car.
If you’re looking for new ways to incorporate health and fitness into your children’s lives, introduce them to walking or rolling to school. Kick off a healthy life-long habit at this annual celebration, and whether you walk on a monthly, or weekly basis — by making walking to class something your children can look forward to doing with you on special occasions, this simple form of exercise becomes an activity they can enjoy and relish.
Most importantly, studies have shown children who walk to school enjoy both key health benefits and academic advantages, as well as getting more quality bonding time with parents. Additionally, the sense of independence your child feels by walking to school will help build self-confidence and give them a sense of accomplishment.
Whether your family lives within walking distance of a school or not, there are lots of ways to encourage more walking, biking and rolling. Efforts like riding transit, carpooling, walking school buses, and bike trains all help reduce congestion around schools. With reduced drop-off/pick-up traffic, there’s less idling and fewer polluting emissions, and it’s safer for your kids overall.
To help you connect with parents near you, or join your school’s walking school bus or bike train, download KangaDo — a free app for your iPhone or Android, which let’s you securely share your trip for Walk & Roll to School Day, and every day!
It’s Easy and Fun to Organize a Walk & Roll to School Day
Ready to get started at your child’s school? First, see if your school is already participating (list here).If not, being a part of Walk & Roll to School Day is as easy as 1-2-3:
The San Francisco Safe Routes to Schools Partnership works with parents, school staff and community members to support and encourage more children walking, biking and rolling to school. These efforts reduce traffic around schools and also offer key health and academic benefits for students. The Safe Routes to School Partnership provides FREE giveaways for encouragement on Walk & Roll to School day. However, FREE supplies are limited — register by Friday, September 26.
For materials and resources, including more information about Walk & Roll to School Day, volunteering as a Corner Captain, learning about leading your own Walking School Bus or Bike Train, or carpooling options, visit SF Safe Routes
For additional information on Walking School Bus safety and how to teach your children about air pollution, see the links below: