walking school bus instructions by s42gs6

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									From: http://www.activelivingresources.org/saferoutestoschool5.php

Many parents are afraid to let their children walk or bicycle to and from school. They
fear:

• Too much traffic (much of it caused by parents driving their children to school
• Dangerous crossings (for example extra wide roadways or highway ramps)
•Not enough other people walking to provide a safe environment from potential antisocial
activities (for example street gangs, bullies, transients)

This is a vicious circle, with too much traffic contributing to an environment where
people don't walk or bike, and where bullies or unsavory characters may feel more at
home because there aren't enough "eyes on the street." And even with a good walking
environment, there are certainly children of school age who are simply too young to be
simply pointed toward a school a half-mile away.

Enter The Walking School Bus
Here's a simple idea that has caught on in many communities: a parent, caregiver, or even
an older student volunteers to walk a pre-determined route in the morning, collecting
children at "stops" along the way for the walk to school. In the afternoon, the process is
repeated in reverse, dropping children off on their streets.

The "Walking School Bus" was first suggested by David Engwitcht of Brisbane,
Australia, in the early 90s. The Canadian Go For Green program picked up the idea and
has promoted it widely. More recently, communities across the United States have started
putting walking school buses "on the road."

As an example, when the elementary school in Van Deveer, NJ, lost its courtesy busing
program due to budget cuts, principal Susan Haynes started looking for a creative and
safe way to get students to walk to school.

"We already had traffic concerns at our school, so we wanted to help students who used
to ride the bus find a safe route they could walk with parent(s) or other students,” said
Principal Haynes.

Haynes worked with the New Jersey Ridewise program, which planned the walking bus
routes by first analyzing where students lived, then designated safe routes based on pre-
determined criteria from the national Safe Routes to School program.

To keep students and parents walking, Principal Haynes designated every Wednesday as
“Walk to School Wednesday.” Each Wednesday, she walks one of the designated safe
routes with parents and students. On average, 300 students and parents participate in the
weekly events, and a number of "buses" operate daily. (Read the full Derveer walking
school bus story in the Resources box below.)

The Benefits of a Walking School Bus
• Children are part of a large, visible and supervised group, which re-assures parents who
are concerned about letting their children walk on their own;
• Children learn pedestrian safety skills while getting regular exercise;
• Car traffic around the schools is reduced;
• The "bus drivers" become "eyes on the streets” in their neighborhood and can help
identify unsafe areas along the route.

Check the resources below to learn more about starting a Walking School Bus program in
your community. If you're interested in setting up a school bus program, take a look at
the 15 steps suggested on page six in the Friends of the Earth booklet listed below.



Resources

- Getting started with setting up a walking school bus in your neighborhood. From the
National Center for Safe Routes to School. | PDF 567KB
- Go For Green (Canada): How To Organize A Walking/Biking School Bus | PDF 495KB
- Derveer, NJ, Walking School Bus Success Story | PDF 60KB
- 15 Steps In Setting Up a Walking School Bus (from Friends of the Earth, UK) | PDF
54KB
- The Walking School Bus: Combining Safety, Fun and the Walk to School | Online
Resource
- The Walking School Bus: Bringing Schools and Communities Together to Create Safer
Walking Environments For Kids | PDF 2.19MB

								
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