Seeking to get students more active, area teachers, principals, and other school officials have been looking for fit, safe activities for their students.
Rockford Elementary took that a step further Wednesday, taking part in the national event, Walk to School Day.
“It’s so great to see the kids outside on such a beautiful day,” said Karen Eberdt, Project Lazarus coordinator for the Surry County Health and Nutrition Center, which worked with the schools in developing the event.
Recently the Surry County Schools Health Advisory Board met with Eberdt and Beth Johnson, active routes to schools coordinator, to discuss fun ideas and ways to get their students involved in National Walk to School Day.
In 2005 the North Carolina Department of Transportation and North Carolina Divison of Public Health, began a partnership with Active Routes to Schools. Active Routes to schools is an organized effort to increase safety for children who walk and bike to school, by raising awareness and providing those students with the information to choose the safest route.
“We are lucky to have such a supportive principal for physical activity,” said Deanna Fitzgerald, physical education teacher at Rockford Elementary.
Over the past few weeks the school’s officials have thought of how they can engage students in physical activity to participate in the national event. Together, Principal Molly Anderson and Fitzgerald decided to have students walk around the school and areas outside. Children were even allowed to stampede the hallways.
Although some students complained of being tired and their legs being sore from the physical activity, Eberdt cheered them on, “You guys are so awesome.”
Fitzgerald also reminded the students that the soreness was making them stronger as they worked their muscles.
One teacher was heard telling her class, “keep walking, we haven’t made it to school yet.”
Walk to School Day in the USA began in 1997 as a one-day event aimed at building awareness for the need for walk-able communities, organized by the Partnership for a Walkable America,
In 2000, the event became international when the UK and Canada (both of which had already been promoting walking to school) and the USA joined together for the first International Walk to School Day.
In the USA and Canada, International Walk to School Day galvanizes visibility for walking and bicycling to school. Over time, this event has been part of a movement for year-round safe routes to school and a celebration each October. Wednesday, thousands of schools across America and in more than 40 countries worldwide celebrate walking to school every October.
The success of Walk to School Day, as well as continued interest in bicycling to school, created a desire for a national event focused on bicycling to school. This goal became reality in 2012, when the first National Bike to School Day took place on May 9, in coordination with the League of American Bicyclists’ National Bike Month.
Reach Eva Queen at (336) 415-4739 or on Twitter @MtAiryNewsEva