On-campus Walking Activities

Logging miles on the track at Trumansburg Elementary School, Trumansburg, New York.

In situations where distance, safety concerns, or a disability prevents a child from walking or biking to school, communities can encourage walking on the school campus. For example, school officials can establish walking activities before or after school or during recess, physical education or health class. Walk routes on the school grounds provide all students an opportunity to walk a safe route and increase their physical activity. Ideas presented in the Mileage clubs and contests section also provide suggestions for incorporating routine walking into the school day.

Strategy: On-campus walking activities

Definition

Walks are held on the school campus during the school day such as during physical education classes or recess, or occur before or after school.

Advantages

  • Includes children that may otherwise not be able to participate in SRTS activities.

Considerations

  • Needs school or volunteer coordinator and support from administration.
  • May require time in the school schedule.

Quick steps to on-campus walking activities

  1. Identify a coordinator and obtain school's support.
  2. Determine the scope of the activity: who will be involved? When will they walk? Where will they walk? For how long will they walk?
  3. Set goals for walkers either by accumulated distance, amount of time or number of days walked.
  4. Obtain incentives (optional).
  5. Promote.
  6. Kick off.
  7. Track participation.
  8. Make changes to the activity as needed.

Putting It Into Practice: The Morning Mile

Jenkins Elementary School, Scituate, MA

Children walking the Morning Mile at Jenkins Elementary School in Scituate, Massachusetts.

The "Morning Mile" at Jenkins Elementary was designed to give bus riding students an opportunity to enjoy the benefits of walking.

Parent volunteers, including men in the school's "Dad's Club," and Physical Education teachers created a half-mile loop around the school grounds for the children to walk during regular, all-school "Morning Mile" walks. The Dad's Club built wide timber stairways to provide pedestrian access to the playground and school. Teachers report that children had more enthusiasm for schoolwork and behaved better after venting some energy during the Morning Mile walks.

Putting It Into Practice: Sports Day

Solomon Elementary School, Chicago, Illinois

This case study is provided courtesy of the National Center for Physical Activity and Disability.

Weather conditions can be challenging in Chicago during the winter months. To shake off the winter blues and supplement the schools' participation in International Walk to School Day and Walking and Wheeling Wednesdays, Solomon Elementary School and the National Center for Physical Activity and Disability (NCPAD) developed a Sports Day. The goal of Sports Day was to provide an inclusive event for all students to be more physically active and learn about safe pedestrian travel.

Solomon School SRTS Sports Day involved 390 students of all abilities rotating through activity stations which included adaptive cycling, wheelchair sports, parachute games, nature activities, pedometer tracking instruction, and pedestrian safety. Sports Day was a collaboration of Solomon School, NCPAD, Project Mobility, Chicago Park District, Active Transportation Alliance, and Safe Routes Ambassadors. These organizations came together to teach educate, enable, and encourage students, parents, and school staff on the inclusion of students with disabilities in a Safe Routes to School Walk and Wheel program in order to foster a healthy lifestyle for all children.

The success of the event was demonstrated in the remarks from students commenting on how they wanted to use the adaptive cycles in the grand finale parade and how much fun it was to spin in the racing wheelchair.