A unique digital smartcard system and incentive program is getting more kids active on their way to school.
The Active Travel Tag On Program at
Malvern Valley Primary School allows school students to "tag on" at a kiosk when they arrive to school and select how they travelled – walking, bike, scooter, car or public transport.
'It's important to get that active start to the day,' says Principal Joshua Sheffield. 'It starts their brain to get ready to learn.'
Students receive a house point whenever they tag on, but an "active travel" option like walking or riding earns them bonus points that they can use to enter the school canteen's Healthy Choices prize raffle.
Malvern Valley Primary School students are getting double points to celebrate
Walk Safely to School day.
'I think it's a great program. It encourages us because it rewards us when we actively travel to school,' says Malvern Valley Primary School student Niveda. 'It's good to work hard to get more House Points and get more raffle tickets for the Healthy Choices Raffle.'
Tag on, tag off
Located near busy Chadstone Shopping Centre, Mr Sheffield says the Active Travel Tag On program decreases busy surrounding traffic and gives students a positive start to the day.
'We have ongoing needs to be as sustainable as we possibly can, and free up traffic because we're near Chadstone,' Mr Sheffield says. 'It's a more pleasant place to be without cars.'
The system also sends an email to students' parents to let them know that they've arrived to school safely.
'We wanted parents to allow them to ride to school and have the confidence that they'd get here safely,' Mr Sheffield says. 'It fosters independence and peace of mind.'
Active Travel originally began as a pilot program thanks to a community grant. When the funding ended, Mr Sheffield says a couple of 'digital-savvy and passionate parents' got together to build the current system.
Mr Sheffield says there's been at least a 10% increase in students coming to school by walking or on bike. Students are also taking the same paths together to school, which gives them better safety and a chance to socialise.
'They love the sense of independence,' Mr Sheffield says. 'We have a house point system and they're really passionate about that. They're really enthusiastic, there's a graph of which houses are winning.'
Malvern Valley student Raf says, 'I enjoy riding and walking to school because I like being active and being outdoors.'
'You get fresh air and sometimes I walk with friends, which is fun.'
Physical activity is vital for increased health and fitness, developing coordination and motor skills, and has a positive effect on general wellbeing including mental and social development.
For more information on programs and organisations which encourage students to engage in active travel see: