By: Jill Fox
Put away those car keys, grab a helmet or walking buddy, and enjoy the fun of the outdoors.
On Wednesday, October 2, students in Parkland are encouraged to do just that. All three Parkland elementary schools are participating in International Walk and Bike to School Day.
Parkland Mayor Christine Hunschofsky, who plans to ride her bike to at least one elementary school that morning, said Parkland has participated in Walk/Bike to School Day for many years thanks to the initiative taken by the Education Advisory Board in 2008.
“The day is a great opportunity for parents to leave the car at home and for students to get some exercise while meeting up with friends and neighbors,” she said.
Heron Heights, Park Trails and Riverglades Elementary Schools are among the 287 schools in Florida celebrating this quality time for kids and parents. According to walkbiketoschool.org, when walking or biking, parents and children get to appreciate things they don’t notice while driving—listening to neighborhood sounds, seeing friends and neighbors and feeling connected with their community. The annual event, held every October draws participation from over 3,350 schools nationwide.
“As a parent and an educator, I understand the importance of creating opportunities to engage in authentic conversation with your children,” said Park Trails Elementary School Principal Arlene Manville, “Walking your children to and from school is a great time to discuss the day, to demonstrate how you view education as a priority, and to create moments.”
Research has shown that one-time events like Walk to School Day can increase the number of students who walk or bicycle to school even weeks after the day of the event.
Fewer children walk or bicycle to school than did so a generation ago. But, with so many schools registered nationwide, it’s an excellent opportunity for children not only to start their days happy but to feel independent, explore their neighborhoods and get physical activity as part of their daily routine.
Most of all, it’s fun!
The city would like to remind parents to please keep close adult supervision on all children and to follow all traffic laws and use crosswalks when crossing the street.