Alabama, Community Engagement, Elementary school, Exercise, Fairhope Elementary School, International Walk to School Day, Parent Engagement, Physical Activity, Private Public Partnerships, Recreation and Sports, School bus, Smart Coast, Walking, Walking bus, Walking School Bus, WSB
International Walk to School Day is October 9! Did not know there was such a day? There is! The website offers, “It’s Fun!” as the first of five reasons why students should walk to school and also provides year-round resources for schools.
A Walking School Bus offers an opportunity for students to walk to school with adult volunteers and teachers. The Walking School Bus website encourages schools to “Start Simple” with these four steps:
- Invite families who live nearby to walk.
- Pick a route and take a test walk.
- Decide how often the group will walk together.
- Have fun!
Fairhope Elementary School is the first school in Alabama to offer a daily Walking School Bus for students. Below are some pictures from their first day!
As you can see from the photos, Fairhope Elementary School’s Walking School Bus (WSB) enjoys great participation from adult volunteers who facilitate each day’s walk with at least one male and one female teacher. Very cool! What also makes Fairhope Elementary School’s WSB so cool is that it engages parents and it is truly a school-community collaboration; partners include Smart Coast, the city of Fairhope, University of South Alabama, Bayside Orthopaedic, and local artist JD Crowe who designed their Walking School Bus logo!
“Thanks to all parents… Everything went beautifully” was part of the message communicated to parents from WSB grant writer and WSB volunteer Charlene Lee following their first walk. The message also shared processes (e.g., children walk with a buddy) and experiences from Day 1, and encouraged continued parent and student engagement:
At the beginning several children were a little unsure of themselves as this is such a new adventure. Everyone seemed to have fun though as the walk progressed… A parent saw us today and her 1st grader is eager to join in tomorrow.
Journal request: it would be great to start a little journal diary where your child writes a sentence or two about the walk.
The Walking School Bus is a safe option for students and benefits include increased parent, student, and community engagement. Want to get started? Use International Walk to School Day to begin the conversation.
For more information about Fairhope Elementary School’s Walking School Bus check out their Walking School Bus website via Smart Coast or contact the school’s Assistant Principal Ann Agerton or email Charlene Lee at Smart Coast at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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