Why develop a walking school bus?
Studies show that fewer children are walking and biking to school, and more children are at risk of becoming overweight. Changing behaviours of children and parents require creative solutions that are safe and fun.
Implementing a walking school bus can be both.
What is a walking school bus?
A walking school bus is a group of children walking to school with one or more adults. If that sounds simple, it is, and that’s part of the beauty of the walking school bus. It can be as informal as two families taking turns walking their children to school to as structured as a route with meeting points, a timetable and a regularly rotated schedule of trained volunteers.
A variation on the walking school bus is the bicycle train, in which adults supervise children riding their bikes to school. The flexibility of the walking school bus makes it appealing to communities of all sizes with varying needs.
Parents often cite safety issues as one of the primary reasons they are reluctant to allow their children to walk to school. Providing adult supervision may help reduce those worries for families who live within walking or bicycling distance to school.
Reaching more children
Success with a simple walking school bus or a desire to be more inclusive may inspire a community to build a more structured program. This may include more routes, more days of walking and more children. Such programs require coordination, volunteers and potential attention to other issues, such as safety training and liability. The school principal and administration, law enforcement and other community leaders will likely be involved.