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Organize a walk to school event in your community

September 30, 2015
photo: Josee Quesnel

Cree Regional Public Health (CBHSSJB) is encouraging schools/communities within the Cree region to take part in the Walk to School Week during the month of October. Walking to school is an easy way to increase physical activity for students, teachers, school staff, as well as parents. Schools can choose the day, or even a week to celebrate this event during the month of October. We also encourage any initiatives that will continue on throughout the school year, which promote walking to school. 

We encourage all staff, parents and community leaders to look for ways to improve their health and show their support by leaving their vehicles at home and taking part in Walk to School activities.

We encourage all schools/communities to join in and make your school/community become active and healthy, by setting example for others to follow, by promoting good habits.

Here is what motivates people to walk to school:

  • Increased physical activity levels among youth; helps prevent heart disease, obesity and type 2 diabetes, and contributes to stress management, better self-esteem, etc.
  • A healthy lifestyle for the whole family
  • Reduced traffic around schools
  • Better air quality
  • Teaches rules for safe walking and cycling
  • Safer and calmer streets and neighborhoods
  • A sense of belonging in the community;
  • Overall improvement to fitness and health

Here are some ideas to help you get started on planning your “Walk to School event”.

Recruit volunteers:

  • Ask for walk to school week volunteers at your Parent Committee and Student council meetings.
  • Set up a small committee with community health representatives, local wellness groups, recreation and others.
  • Promote the event in your newsletter, or send a notice home with students. Create your own poster.

Get the word out to the community:

  • Display Walk to school week posters in your community centers, grocery stores and other public places.
  • Invite local leaders and guest speakers:
  • Invite local leaders (Chief, Band councilors, police, school commissioner,) to join the walk.
  • Invite guest speakers (e.g. police, public safety, and youth chief) to speak about safety issues.

Enlist help from Community Partners:

  • Approach local business for prize donations to recognize the class with the highest participation.
  • Approach local businesses to donate water and healthy snacks, for the day’s festivities.

Distribute safety information to students:

Contact organization such as the public safety department, local police department in your community and you can even contact the Canadian safety council for free material that address street safety, bullying and safe cycling.

Make safer routes to school:

  • Invite your community police officers to provide extra safe ‘eyes on the street’ on the day of the event.
  • Ask for volunteers to create patrol for crosswalks on the day. This patrol could be put in place year round as part of the Active & Safe Routes to School program.

Encourage students to think and talk about the event!

  • Ask younger students to draw pictures illustrating the benefits of active transportation (e.g. reducing climate change, cleaner air, increased physical activity and better health and a sense of community.)
  • Hold a school assembly to discuss the benefits of walking and cycling to school.
  • Ask students to design a Walk to School Week banner that can be displayed outside the school.
  • Encourage students to make signs to carry during the walk. These make great photographs.
  • Invite students to prepare poems or songs about walking to school and ‘perform’ them on the school’s public address system, at an assembly or even on the local radio.

Invite local media:

Ask local media to cover the event.

At the Event

For children:

  • During the walk, children can carry signs and wear hats or buttons made for the event.
  • Children can participate in races, relays, or other fun events.
  • Students might like to make a presentation on why they like to walk or cycle to school.

For Adults:

  • Celebrate students’ participation as they cross into the schoolyard.
  • Supply juice and healthy snacks, stickers, pencil etc. provided by local businesses.
  • Take photographs of the event.

After the event

  • Post the results of any contest or competitions, and awards of the event.
  • and staff to walk or cycle to school. Or start an Active & Safe Routes to School program in your school.
  • Share your experience. Please share your story by forwarding news clippings, artwork and photographs.
  • Have children write about the highlights of their day or draw a picture to show what the day meant to them.

Spread the word! Together, we can make a difference in our personal health and the health of the environment!

For more information contact:  
Wally Rabbitskin
Program Officer, Physical Activity

t: 418 923 2204 ext: 42365 
f: 418 923 2564
c: 418 770 8106
wrabbitskin@ssss.gouv.qc.ca