PTOs and PTAs have a nice opportunity to promote healthy lifestyles when International Walk to School Day comes around in early October every year.
Many PTOs and PTAs sponsor programs around this day and register with the Walk Bike to School organization. Groups also can quickly put together a casual event. Check with your school administration and get approval to hold a simple walk to school event next week with children accompanied by their parents. Set up a destination to meet before the start of school, perhaps at a nearby playground. Set a time for the walk and make sure to have a few extra volunteers on hand. At the appointed time, lead the group of parents and children to the school.
Also make sure to get the word out with some quick promotions on Facebook and other social channels. We have a walking program flyer template on our File Exchange that would come in handy, as well as this cute graphic to share on your group's Facebook page.
A walk to school event is great for kids. It helps them get moving before school, and that physical activity helps many kids settle and focus once they get to school. It’s good for their health and supports healthy habits. Also, when parents participate, it reduces the traffic around schools, which is good for the environment.
If your walk to school event is well-received, consider holding one once a month throughout the school year. If you have a few parents willing to make a commitment, you might consider running a "walking school bus" program with parents walking with a group of children to school.
For ideas on getting momentum going, check the Walk Bike to School's Keep Going program.
Originally posted in 2013 and updated regularly