Walk to School Days: 5 Steps to Success
Walking to school is a great way to promote a healthy, active lifestyle among students. Students learn responsibility, good decision making and community awareness. And remember, more kids walking or biking to school, means fewer cars, less pollution and safer, cleaner neighborhoods!
Getting a Walk to School Day going is super easy. Remember the goal is to encourage kids to walk and have fun, so to start, don’t get buried in details or the pressure of a huge event. It could be as easy as a few fliers, posters or banners and a welcome table in front of school to celebrate kids’ efforts. To help you get rolling, download our 5 Steps to Success flier below.
Ready to get started? Follow these simple steps to Success!
- Choose your event
- Pick a date
- Get permission
- Find Volunteers
- Celebrate Success!
- STEP 1: Choose your Event. Always work to your capacity and build from there. For some, starting small with a welcome table in front of school and a few volunteers to hand out goodies is all they can handle. For others, coordinating meetup sites is manageable. Some schools might have the volunteer capacity to schedule Walking School Buses. Don’t worry, it’s all good.
- STEP 2: Pick your date. Your event can be whenever it best fits your school’s schedule. Hint: If distance is an issue, suggest to parents they can meet at a remote meetup location, at least five blocks from school.
- Step 3: Get Permission. Be sure to seek your principal’s permission and input. Also, notify your local leaders and police department for support and suggestions.
- STEP 4: Recruit volunteers Volunteers can help encourage students, distribute fliers and greet students on the big day. If you’re handing out incentives, be sure someone is assigned to that task so you’ll be free to organize and walk or bike with the students. Hint: Getting volunteers involved also helps build sustainability.
- STEP 5: Promote your event. Start with inviting students and parents to participate. Fliers, posters, banners, school newsletters, and intercom announcements are all good places to begin. Remember to take advantage of social media too. Encourage the students to create banners, fliers and signs to place around school or carry with them. Hint: Be your biggest fan. Students, volunteers and other parents will feed off your energy and enthusiasm.
- STEP 6: Almost there A few days before, check in with your volunteers to make sure everything is ready. The day before, make an intercom announcement to remind students to walk to school and one last e-mail to parents. Hint: Don’t panic. whether you get 5 students or 500, you’re on the right track.
- STEP 7: Start Walking! If you’re meeting at a common location, be sure to discuss safe rules of the road and why you’re promoting this activity.
- Step 8: Celebrate Success At school, gather everyone at a common meeting place or in front of the school to congratulate them for participating. Be sure to tank all your volunteers! Hint: Take photos of the students and parents (clear this with your principal first).
- Be sure to register your event at walkbiketoschool.org
Extra Tips for Principals, Faculty and Parents:
Parents: You can speak with your principal or PTA/PTO and start planning. It’s easy, costs little – or even nothing – and a whole lot of fun!
Teachers: You can encourage your students to participate and make a project out of it. For example, the class can discuss the benefits of walking and biking, determine percentages of those who walked, biked or drove and estimate for the entire school. Even better, challenge other faculty to see who can get more students to participate. Student posters to encourage and inspire work well also.
Principals: You can lead the effort and be head cheerleader. Direct staff or parents to valuable resources to plan an event at your school. Greet your students in front of the school or even join them along the way.