Bass Coast,

Active students walk to school

Bass Coast primary schools, students and their families recently took part in a range of activities throughout Walk to School month.

VicHealth’s Walk to School campaign encourages primary school students across Victoria to walk to and from school throughout October in a bid to get more people living happier and healthier lives.

The month highlights the benefits of walking for children, such as improving fitness, friendships, their confidence and the environment.

Inverloch Primary, St Joseph’s Primary, Wonthaggi North Primary, Powlett River Primary, Bass Valley Primary, Bass Coast Specialist School, San Remo Primary, Newhaven Primary and Cowes Primary were the nine schools that participated in Bass Coast

Bass Coast Mayor, Cr Pamela Rothfield, said VicHealth’s Walk to School initiative is a fun and free way to get kids active, and promotes healthy habits they can utilise for the rest of their lives.

“Walking, riding and scooting to school during the month of October were really popular and parents also parked a few blocks away from school and walked the rest of the way to get some additional exercise,” Cr Rothfield said.

“Council also passed on VicHealth funding to support participating primary schools to hold healthy breakfasts at their schools.”

School activities

Some Bass Coast primary schools have a large number of students who catch the bus to school; therefore four schools ran walking sessions at school for the students who could not walk or ride from home.

Bass Valley Primary also utilised the 600 metre off-road shared path connecting the existing V/Line car park located just off the Bass Highway to the school constructed with funding from VicHealth and Victoria Walks and completed earlier this year.

Newhaven Primary ran a very successful Walk to School day on Wednesday, 19 October, with 43 students – almost one-third of the school’s students – along with staff and parents, walking from the Visitor Information Centre to school.

Council also provided updated safe to school maps for Inverloch, Wonthaggi North, Newhaven and Cowes which identified footpaths and safe crossing points for children and parents with a number of tips on how to get to school safely.

These updated maps showed how long it would take to walk to school from different locations and also contained ‘walk to school locations’, such as carparks where parents could park safely and walk along a footpath to schools with their children.

Schools and parents have helped children record their walks using classroom calendars or the Walk to School website, with all participating schools receiving student certificates to celebrate their achievements.

Participating students will be in the running for a series of prizes provided by VicHealth and Council will work schools to identify those who committed to exercise during October.

The students and their schools will go into a draw to win sports club memberships and funding towards exercise equipment for their school.

Focus on safety

Council and Victoria Police monitored school crossings and driver behaviour during October to promote safe behaviour around schools, particularly during drop-off and pick-up times.

Walk to School month led to a significant decrease in congestion around schools when walking and riding was increased, and schools, Council and police hope that this will continue.

Council and Police will continue to have a presence around schools and encourage parents and other drivers to drive safely and slowly in and around school zones.