Bass Coast,
29
September
2016
|
04:00
Australia/Melbourne

Step up during Walk to School month

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Bass Coast primary schools and families are encouraged to take part in activities throughout this year’s Walk to School month funded by VicHealth.

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. It’s free, easy and a fun way for children to get active.

Council will coordinate local Walk to School activities during October, including running competitions for participating schools, supporting park and walk events with Ranger patrols to increase safety, supporting local primary schools to hold healthy breakfasts at their school, and, in some locations, providing walking maps to help children walk to school safely.

Schools and parents can help children record their walks using classroom calendars or the Walk to School website, and all participating schools will receive student certificates to celebrate their students’ achievements, and will be in the running for a series of prizes provided by VicHealth.

With local children returning to school this week, and with potentially more kids walking and riding to school, Council are also asking all drivers to pay special attention around schools during drop-off and pick-up times.

VicHealth CEO, Jerril Rechter, said last year’s Walk to School campaign saw a record number of students and schools participate and this year VicHealth hoped to see even more children walking, riding and scooting to school.

“Last year more than 108,000 children from 620 schools across Victoria took part in Walk to School and collectively walked more than 1.2 million kilometres, the equivalent of walking almost 32 times around the world,” Ms Rechter said.

“Sadly, one in four children is overweight or obese. VicHealth’s Walk to School initiative is a fun, free way to get kids active and promote healthy habits they can utilise for the rest of their lives.

“Walking, riding or scooting to school during the month of October is also a great way to spend quality time with your children. If walking the whole way to school isn’t feasible, parking a few blocks away and walking the rest of the way is still a great way to get involved.”

Council and Victoria Police will be monitoring school crossings and driver behaviour generally around schools in coming weeks to promote safer behaviour around schools, particularly during drop-off and pick-up times.

Bass Coast schools can contact Council’s Community Health and Wellbeing Department on 1300 BCOAST (226 278) or (03) 5671 2211 to find out more about local Walk to School activities, or visit www.walktoschool.vic.gov.au for more information.