October is International Walk to School Month. We asked Living Streets to tell us more about why they are encouraging families to leave the car at home for the school run and instead join pupils globally who are celebrating the benefits of walking and wheeling to school.
At Living Streets, we’re passionate about helping families enjoy the benefits of walking to school, from reduced congestion and air pollution to happier and healthier children arriving at school more alert and ready to learn. There are big differences that come from small steps. October is the perfect chance to give walking to school a go.
This year’s theme is #WalkForTheWorld. Schools and families have been thinking about how local actions can have positive global impacts, considering the contribution that school run traffic pollution makes to carbon emissions and the effects it has on wildlife and natural habitats. Why we walk to school Living Streets is the charity behind the UK’s biggest walk to school campaign. We want every child who can walk to school to be able to do so. A generation ago, 70% of us walked to school but data released by the Department for Transport last month revealed that just 47% of 5–16-year-olds in England currently walk to school, with similar numbers in Scotland and Wales. As a result, one in four cars on the road at morning peak hours are on the school run, despite the vast majority of families living less than two miles from their nearest school. With over 2,000 schools in pollution hotspots, we need to do more to help families leave the car at home to help reduce congestion and clean up our air. Choosing cleaner ways to travel will also help children to meet the recommended 60 minutes of physical activity a day needed to stay fit, healthy and happy. International Walk to School Month is an excellent opportunity for families to give walking to school a go and see if it’s something they could do more often.
Walk For The World It’s not too late to join the thousands of children across the UK taking steps to reduce air pollution. Living Streets is running a social media challenge for schools and families throughout October. Pupils are asked to choose an animal or natural habitat endangered by climate change and walk, wheel, scoot, cycle or Park & Stride to school to protect it. Families and schools can then share their #WalkForTheWorld images on social media to be entered into a prize draw with prizes available for schools and families. Entries so far have included children dressing up as their chosen animal, taking a cuddly toy along for the walk, or drawing the animals they want to protect on our special #WalkForTheWorld drawing template.To find out more about International Walk to School Month and to enter the prize draw, visit livingstreets.org.uk/IWTSM.