Children asked to give up seats and walk, bike to school

For generations, educators have asked students to stay in their seats and sit quietly. On Oct. 6 they will encourage students to leave their seats – in cars and buses – and expend a little energy by walking or bicycling to school. International Walk to School Day was created 14 years ago to emphasize the benefits of walking and bicycling.

The movement began in 1997 as National Walk Our Children to School Day in Chicago by the Partnership for a Walkable America. It was based on a program developed in the United Kingdom. The intense was to unite leaders and children in an effort to improve the walkability of communities.

Within five years, children, parents, teachers and community leaders in all 50 states and many countries embraced the program. That year, nearly 3 million walkers took part in the International Walk to School Day.

With about two weeks before the worldwide observance, Idaho had 28 events in 12 cities registered on the International Walk to School website, from Ammon and Iona to Boise, Eagle, Nampa and Lewiston and Sandpoint.

Some of the activities planned for Wednesday, Oct. 6, are associated with the Safe Routes to School Program, which is funded through a federal allocation to ITD and awarded on a competitive grant basis.

Idaho activities include “walking school buses” where groups of students walk together and coordinated bicycling caravans. Seven Oaks Elementary School in Eagle will use the observance to emphasize the health benefits; Falls Valley Elementary in Idaho Falls will award prizes and offer a free breakfast; the event at Lincoln Elementary in Twin Falls will incorporate a safety component.

Participating Idaho schools

  • Ammon: Ammon Elementary School and Mountain Valley Elementary
  • Boise: Cynthia Mann Elementary School, Garfield Elementary School, Koelsch Elementary School, Mountain View Elementary School, Pioneer Elementary School Of The Arts, Riverside Elementary School, Washington Elementary School, Whitney Elementary School, Whittier Elementary School.
  • Eagle: Seven Oaks Elementary School
  • Idaho Falls: Bonneville District Virtual Academy, Falls Valley Elementary School
  • Iona: Iona Elementary School
  • Jerome: Jerome Middle School, Summit Elementary School
  • Kootenai: Kootenai Elementary School
  • Lapwai: Nez Perce Tribe Early Childhood Development Center
  • Lewiston: Boys & Girls Club Of The Lewis Clark Valley, Centennial Elementary School, McSorley Elementary School
  • Nampa: Ronald Reagan Elementary School
  • Sandpoint: Farmin-Stidwell Elementary School, Sandpoint Charter School, Sandpoint Middle School, Washington Elementary School
  • Twin Falls: Lincoln Elementary School

Published 9-24-2010