2008 International Walk to School Day – Solomon Elementary School, Chicago, Illinois
|International Walk to School Day|
Walking and bicycling to school among school-aged children has decreased from approximately fifty percent to less than fifteen percent over the past forty years. Active travel is crucial for improving community and personal health, benefiting the environment, increasing safety and helping to decrease traffic and congestion around schools.
Safe Routes to School (SRTS) is an international initiative to make active travel to school safe, convenient and fun for children everyday. Nationally, SRTS is a program of the U.S. Department of Transportation's Federal Highway Administration. The program is designed to help communities develop and implement projects and programs that encourage walking and biking to promote healthier, more active lifestyles for elementary school-age children, lifestyles that will hopefully remain with them throughout their entire life. The National Center for Physical Activity and Disability (NCHPAD) has been awarded a grant to focus on the inclusion of children with disabilities in SRTS programs. NCHPAD has partnered with Solomon School, a Chicago Public School, to implement a SRTS program which will include children of all abilities.
On October 8, 2008, Solomon Elementary School participated in their first International Walk & Wheel to School Day. NCPAD, along with the Mayor’s Fitness Council of Chicago (http://www.mayorsfitnesscouncil.com), joined Principal Moy, teachers, support staff and 365 students to participate in a parade of walking and wheeling around the school. This Walk & Wheel to School Day was a kick-off event and is the first of many events planned to promote active travel and healthy lifestyles for all children.
Click here to watch footage from 2008 International Walk to School Day at Chicago’s Solomon Elementary School (Note: RealPlayer is required to watch the video clip)
NCHPAD will be utilizing the data collected from the SRTS programs for the development of educational/instructional materials. These materials will include general guidelines and curriculum to teach how to address the needs of all children for their inclusion in SRTS events and for the promotion of safe healthy active travel for children of all abilities.
Since development of healthy behaviors is established during childhood, Walk to School month, International Walk to School Day, and Safe Routes to School are important events and celebrations to help reverse the decline in children walking, wheeling and bicycling to school. Including children of all abilities in these health initiatives encourages and empowers them to establish active lifestyles.
More information on International Walk to School Day can be found at http://www.walktoschool.org/.
Additional NCHPAD publications on SRTS:
- Director's Column: Safe Routes to School: A Great Way to Get Youth with and without Disabilities More Active, March, 2008 at http://www.ncpad.org/539/2479/Safe~Routes~to~School~~~A~Great~Way~to~Get~Youth~