Children who walk or ride to school are more likely to be fitter and more active than others.
Why walk to school?
Walking to school helps your child get the amount of exercise they need to stay healthy and helps them learn as well.
Walking is a great way for your child to:
- get to know their local area
- meet other children in their neighbourhood
- learn safety skills, like crossing the road
- gain confidence and the ability to travel independently as they get older.
It’s recommended that children have at least 60 minutes of moderate to vigorous physical activity every day. Research shows that exercise is beneficial in helping your child think, concentrate and solve problems, all of which are essential skills when it comes to learning.
Walking, riding or scooting to school is also good for the environment. There are fewer car trips and it can promote a stronger sense of belonging and community.
Another benefit is that walking to and from school is a great opportunity to spend time with your child. You can give them undivided attention and your relationship with your child may grow by sharing this quality time together.
Is it risky?
Common concerns like crossing roads, dealing with traffic and possible danger from strangers often fade away when parents walk with their children. It is always a good idea to walk with your child for the first few times so that you can be sure they not only know the way to and from school, but that they can get there and back safely.
What’s happening at school
Most schools have sports days, activities and playtime in place to encourage your child to exercise and stay healthy. If your child’s school participates in Walktober, this is another way they are improving your child’s health and wellbeing.
Some schools have walking school buses where children and adults walk together at a designated time and pick up place so that everyone gets to school and home again safely. If your child’s school doesn’t have a walking school bus and you’d like to start your own, see: Starting a walking school bus
As an added incentive, VicHealth offers great prizes for the school with the highest participation in each region.
How to get involved
You need to give your consent for your child to participate. Your child’s school can also register them, but they require your permission in writing first. To register your child, see: Walk to School