Wednesday, October 8, 2014

National Walk to School Day

My children and I joined up with more than 100 students along with their parents and teachers to walk a 1 mile route to school this morning to recognize National Walk to School Day.  Unfortunately, we live more than 2 miles from their elementary school (and our district doesn't provide bus service) so we normally drive each morning.  Our family participated in National Walk to School Day though because we wanted to show our support to community leaders for making the financial decisions that support maintaining a walkable and safe city plus wanted to portray to my kids that regularly walking is a good thing we probably should be doing more often than we actually do to stay active and physically fit.

The walk was led by the school principal, city police and fire chiefs, and Paws (the Detroit Tigers mascot).  Our group had a police escort along the entire route with each road crossing blocked off until the entire group passed by which was really nice.  Members of the fire department walked along with students. parents and teachers talking to the kids about their jobs and giving some safety tips to the children. The fire department buggy pictured with my kids above followed along on the sidewalk at the end of the procession to close up the ranks.  I was impressed that Paws not only greeted kids at the start or the walk, but he joined in and tromped along the whole route with the rest of us.  My son was really thrilled that Paws was walking along the route to school with us.

Walk to School Day, which has been a nationwide event since 1997, is meant to encourage families that live close enough to walk or bike to school to do so.  It's goals are also to promote the goals of fighting childhood obesity by encouraging kids to be more physically active throughout the rest of the year, provide a teachable moment for pedestrian safety, encourage community stakeholders to support and invest in infrastructure and services that decrease traffic congestion, pollution, and criminal activity.  For more information about Walk to School Day or for help in organizing an event for next year if your school did not participate this time visit

Today is a good day to go over pedestrian safety issues with children.  The US Department of Transportation has created a series of safety tip videos that are specifically targeted to certain ages.  Here is the one aimed for children ages 5-9:

Additional videos are for tweens aged 10-14 and teens aged 15 to 18.  CLICK HERE to see all of the videos.  There is also a tip section on the website for parents "Teaching Your Child Safe Walking Skills" and an additional resources reference area for educators.

Several television stations appeared and along with the great crowd of attendees and participation by our local firefighters and police I'm sure the message got out we support a safe and walkable community.  As we approached my kids classrooms they were so excited to have participated and were chatting about what a great and fun time they had walking to school. Mission Accomplished!

CLICK HERE for more information about NATIONAL WALK TO SCHOOL DAY.


  1. I've never heard of National Walk to School long has this been going on? I'm surprised that our son didn't know anything about this.

  2. Most of the publicity is through the individual schools that participate so the more a particular principal is involved and enthused about Walk to School Day the more likely people associated with his or her school will know about it and participate. Of course schools in more walkable communities are more likely to host events and promote this versus those where walking for a majority of their students really isn't feasible.

  3. I love this, this is great! I didn't know there was such a thing.

  4. How fun! I love that Paws was there!

  5. I think this is a great thing! It's awesome to see so many involved (even Paws!? How cool!!) - maybe it should be done more often! :)