It's a Walking School Bus - designed for one
purpose: to provide children with safe, active, sustainable
transportation to and from school. It's a simple way to reduce
automobile use and encourage and allow more kids to get to school
under their own steam.
The Walking School Bus is a component of the
national Active & Safe Routes to School program, a joint
venture of Go for Green, Green Communities Association; the Way to Go!
School Program of British Columbia; Recreation Parks Association of
the Yukon; Ecology Action Centre (Nova Scotia); Resource Conservation
Manitoba; and SHAPE Alberta.
It works like this:
The Walking School Bus idea is introduced at a parents' meeting
or school event where a large map of the school area is displayed.
Parents are encouraged to mark their home on the map with a sticker
and sign up if they are interested in participating. When the exercise
is complete, natural 'walking bus routes' - streets where clusters of
families live - are identified.
Parents can then get together to decide how they want
to operate their 'bus' and to establish 'driver schedules'. As a
walking bus driver, a parent might be responsible to escort the
children on their route to and from school every third or fourth day,
At John Wanless Public School in Toronto, Faye Plant,
a parent, got the bus strolling. The school administration couldn't
have been happier. "We were particularly concerned about the
increasing traffic at the school at pick-up and drop-off times,"
notes Elizabeth White, John Wanless Vice-Principal, "For us,
student safety is paramount."
Typically, children in kindergarten and Grades 1 and 2
are involved, with older kids joining in occasionally. In some of the
early programs, none of the children had walked to school before, so
it was an opportunity to teach them some street-smart skills.