Walk to School Encouragement campaigns took place at Dearborn Park and Hawthorne Elementary in May
This past May, over 150 students at two southeast Seattle schools discovered the joys of walking to school by participating in either Walk and Roll Wednesdays at Dearborn Park Elementary or Hike and Bike at Hawthorne Elementary. These encouragement campaigns occurred in conjunction with Feet First’s current Safe Routes to School grant programs, funded by the Washington State Department of Transportation and managed by the Seattle Department of Transportation.
Walk and Roll Wednesdays at Dearborn Park
Each Wednesday morning in May at Dearborn Park Elementary, Teacher and Principal-led Walking School Buses walked almost a mile to school. Once they arrived at the school they were greeted by Feet First staff and the students received a punch on their official Walk & Roll punch card. There was an optional afternoon walking club for those children who could not participate in the morning event. By the end of the May campaign, almost 30% of the entire school population was walking to school on Wednesdays, up from the school’s typical walk rate of 11%! Walk & Roll Wednesdays were such a hit that the media decided to stop by and join the fun: Q13 article
The program has been an even greater success than I could have imagined. The kids love the early morning activity, the parents appreciate the opportunity to build a stronger community with their neighbors. Even teachers have noticed an improvement in classroom participation and energy on mornings when the walking school bus runs – Dearborn Park Principal Angela Sheffey Bogan
Hike and Bike at Hawthorne
To walk to Hawthorne Elementary School, also in Southeast Seattle, be prepared for a 75 foot elevation gain. This school turned that steep challenge into a bragging right for students participating in the Hike and Bike Hawthorne Hill campaign this May. Hawthorne students kept track of their walks and rides for 4 weeks on an activity Calendar, which they turned in at the end-of-school Field Day celebration. Field Day is an active day at any school, but Hawthorne had an additional booth this year for Feet First to play a pedestrian safety game called Eyeballs, in which students learn to catch the eye of drivers before crossing the road. The completed calendars were used as tickets in a school raffle that took place later in the day. About 25% of students at Hawthorne participated in Hike and Bike, as opposed to the usual 5% recorded a year earlier!
Both Walk and Roll Wednesdays and Hike and Bike show that with a little encouragement, Safe Routes to School can get more children on their feet.
If you are interested in organizing a campaign at your school similar to Walk and Roll Wednesdays or Hike and Bike, you’re in luck! October is International Walk to School (IWALK) month, and it is a perfect opportunity to start a Walk to School campaign at your school. Wait, it gets better! Feet First can provide you with free resources for your IWALK Event. Let us know you’re interested by sending an email to firstname.lastname@example.org Feet First will provide you with IWALK material leading up to the fall, as well as information regarding an upcoming regional IWALK planning meeting.