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Active School Travel

Active School Travel is a national program that promotes any form of human-powered, non-motorized transportation to get a person to and from school. This can include walking, biking, scootering, skateboarding and rollerblading to school or to the bus. With the help of Niagara Student Transportation Services and Public Health, elementary schools in Niagara are promoting Active School Travel as an accessible and affordable opportunity to incorporate physical activity into daily lives.

Benefits

By participating in Active School Travel, schools will have:

1. Healthier students

Active School Travel allows school-aged children the chance to participate in moderate to intense physical activity. This is linked with lower body mass index and improved cardiovascular health. Physical activity also supports healthy brain development which can lead to better mental health and improved academic performance.

2. Healthier communities

Reducing the number of children being driven to school improves air quality and reduces associated risks of lung and cardiovascular diseases. Increased Active School Travel also supports Ontario's greenhouse gas reduction target of 30 per cent below 2005 levels by 2030 (Made-in-Ontario Environment Plan) by reducing vehicle emissions.

3. Safer school zones

Reducing traffic volume at bell times creates safer school zones for all students. Improving walking and cycling routes to school enhances the safety, connectivity and quality of life for the community as a whole.

Campaigns

October - IWalk Campaign

October is International Walk to School Month, also known as (Walk)tober. This includes IWalk Day which takes place on the first Wednesday in October. All month long, hundreds of Ontario schools come together to participate in and celebrate activities that support walking as the main way of getting to school. Additional resources and promotions will be available and encouraged this month.

February - Winter Walk Day

While winter weather can hold some challenges to staying active, this day celebrates how fun it can be to get outside in the winter. Schools across Ontario celebrate with creative events that get kids moving and staying warm while still engaging in Active School Travel.

April - Spring into Spring Campaign

As spring rolls around, this is a great time of year to get students thinking about enjoying the outdoors. Many schools across the country organize events to welcome spring by walking to school and spending more time outdoors. April also highlights other great environmental celebrations such as National Wildlife Week and Earth Day.

May and June - Bike Week (May) and Bike Month (June) Campaign

What better way to welcome summer than by cleaning off that bike and riding to school. Schools across Ontario organize activities in and out of the classroom to engage students to choose cycling. Activities can include community bike days or bike handling safety training so that students will be comfortable and excited to get on a bike.

For more information on these campaigns, visit Ontario Active School Travel.

Contact

To learn more about Active School Travel, or to find out how your child(ren)'s school can become involved, contact a public health nurse at 905-688-8248 or 1-888-505-6479 ext. 7379 or by email at healthyschools@niagararegion.ca.

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