What is a Walking Bus?
A generation ago, kids were thinner and healthier. Part of the reason for the increase in overweight kids is their lack of physical activity. While their parents were likely to swim, run, ride bikes, and walk, today's kids are far more sedentary, frequently being driven to school and other activities. One innovative way to get kids up on their feet and moving is the Walking Bus.
How it WorksThe Walking Bus is a group of school aged kids (typically 5-11 year olds) who walk to school in a large troupe. The group provides an opportunity for daily exercise in a safe, organised fashion. Staffed by adult volunteers who walk along and oversee the Walking Bus, the kids head off to school on routes that are pre-approved by a Road Safety Officer, assuring that they take the safest route. Additional kids can join the group at a series of stations. To make this walk even safer, the walking children wear reflective vests.
Benefits of Participating in the Walking BusIn addition to the healthful exercise, there are other benefits to the Walking Bus. Many parents would like their kids to walk more, but are afraid for their safety. The Walking Bus, by its very nature, puts kids at an advantage over children who are walking alone. There is less of a chance that a child will be approached by an inappropriate adult while walking in a group, and a group of kids is far more visible to motorists than one child is alone. Additionally, the presence of adult volunteers provides parents with the assurance that their kids will be safely guided across streets.
Kids get a chance to chat and socialise on their way to school, helping them to form friendships. A bit of fresh air is good for Children, too, and teachers report that kids who participate in the Walking Bus are bright eyed and alert during class. Finally, Children who are driven everywhere by their parents don't get the chance to learn about road safety. Being part of the group allows the kids to learn how to maneuver safely through traffic.