This morning I had the pleasure to discuss with Good Morning Wales (BBC Radio Wales) why I think it is important for children to walk or take a bus to school.
Currently just 53 per cent of children in England walk to school and only 42 per cent in Wales and Scotland. This is down significantly from a generation ago, when 70 per cent of children used to walk to school.
Living Streets, the UK charity for everyday walking, is currently campaigning for people to #getactive and start walking to school. Ysgol Glan Morfa in Cardiff took part in this campaign today. They were joined by local councillors and BBC Radio Cymru.
So what are my thoughts on walking to school?
Firstly, as a young child I never had a lift to school. We were lucky that my primary school was only a short distance from the family home. It would take around 15 minutes to walk to school, my mum would push my little sister in her pram and my middle sister would toddle along beside her.
I didn’t once complain about the walk, in fact I rather enjoyed our walk to and from school. Come rain or shine, I would look forward to meeting up with my friends who lived a few doors down. We would all skip down the road together.
To me, walking to school is the ideal thing to do. Walking to school is healthy, any type of exercise release’s endorphins which can have a positive effect on a child’s mental health. This is good, especially before starting school.
Not only do you release those ‘feel good’ hormones, by walking to school you will find that you beat the morning traffic, you save money on petrol costs and you get fitter!!
Mornings outside a school can be chaotic. Parents will park anywhere to get their kids into school on time. I have seen parents block streets, park on yellow lines and even argue with each other over spaces. It can be quite dangerous.
By opting to walk to school, its another opportunity for your child to learn about road safety. My children and I play a game. ‘Stop at the curb’.
If like me you don’t live within walking distance of your school it can be tricky.
We presently live around an hours walk away from my sons school (at a child’s walking pace) Its a bit too far to walk to and from school everyday. So instead we walk and use a bus.
If you have no other option but to drive to school perhaps you could consider parking a couple of streets away? This would free up the traffic around the school and help with keeping fit on a daily basis.
I would love to hear your thoughts on this subject. Please comment below.
For more information or to sign up to the campaign, please visit https://www.livingstreets.org.uk/