CHILDREN in Swindon put their best foot forward yesterday in celebration of national Walk to School Week – and many have already been busy exercising their creativity to mark the occasion.
The week of action, which started yesterday and ends on Friday, aims to raise awareness of the importance of walking from an early age.
To better convey the campaign’s message, primary school pupils were invited to take part in a townwide art competition and delve into the past to best illustrate its theme ‘Travelling through time.’ The top three individual entries will win a ‘Walk through time’ event for their school, with the opportunity to dress up and parade to school with a mysterious historical character.
The time-traveller will also present an interactive storytelling assembly to promote a fit and active lifestyle, as well as the importance of sustainable travel.
Besides the many health benefits, walking to school also helps reduce congestion and saves parents money.
Jane Deeley, Swindon school travel advisor, said: “We’ve had some brilliant entries so far – from steam trains, to moon landers and even sedan chairs.
“It’s great that the competition really seems to have captured children’s imaginations.
“Most schools are now very proactive in helping their pupils get to school in healthier, more sustainable ways and we can offer practical support and advice to achieve these goals.”
So far 16 schools in the borough have joined in the five minute walk zone initiative, set up three years ago, which encourages children to walk at least five minutes in to school each day.
The zones, which are timed and mapped by the pupils themselves, show parents it can often be quicker to walk to school than taking the car, and invites them to join their kids in getting a bit of exercise before work begins.
Catherine Wayte Primary School, in Abbey Meads, is among the schools taking part in the competition and getting involved in Walk to School Week.
Hannah Minter, Year 5 teacher and Eco and Travel Co-ordinator at the school, said: “We've had a five minute walk zone for a number of years, which has given lots of children, who would otherwise have travelled by car, the opportunity and motivation to walk or scoot to school.
“In addition, pupils take an active part in shaping our school and we have proactive and enthusiastic travel ambassadors, eco-warriors and school councillors. The children have been inspired by the 'Time Travel' poster competition.”
- Walk to School Week coincides with Swindon’s Get Moving Month. For more information go to www.leisureinswindon.co.uk/get-moving, pick up a brochure at council library or leisure centre, or call 01793 465413.