Walking to school

Monday, October 12, 2009

Once upon a time, walking was how most students got to school. As school districts consolidated, students lived farther and farther away from their schools. The answer was school buses.

Before World War II, each family was lucky to have one automobile. Urban children and many rural students still walked to school. After World War II, families moved to suburbs. Mothers got cars of their own and started driving their sons and daughters to school. It wasn't too long until high school students also had cars to drive to school.

Now the Center for the Partnership for a Walkable America, in cooperation with the U.S. Department of Transportation, is promoting walking to school because it promotes healthy physical activity and cuts down on fuel consumption, among other benefits.

The result? A project called the walking school bus. Schools around the country, including several in Southeast Missouri, are promoting walking projects that provide supervised walks.

October is International Walk to School Month. It's a good opportunity for parents to learn more about supervised, school-sanctioned opportunities to walk safely to school. If your son or daughter's school doesn't have a walking project, you might help start one.

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