TG Escapes Blog
Walk To School Week – 19th- 23rd May 2014
Next week is Walk to School Week, a fantastic campaign to try and encourage more families to leave the car at home and get the kids walking. Walking has great health benefits and ensures that children arrive at school brighter, less stressed and more alert. One of the most common reasons given by parents for not allowing their children to walk to school is the over-heightened fear of stranger danger, even though there is a less than one in a million chance of a child being harmed by a completely unknown individual. Very little thought is given to the risk of poor health and an early death as a result of inactivity, which is about one in three.
Walking together gives parents and their children a great opportunity to chat, the rhythm of their pace facilitating a natural and uninhibited dialogue. It is a brilliant way for children to learn about their neighbourhood and community and to learn about how to assess risks. It will give both parent and child the confidence to embrace a greater degree of freedom and independence, all the while fostering the pleasure of simply being outside.
As well as the information and aids provided by the Walk to School Week website, why not ask your class to take part in one of these simple activities next week? Ask them to make a list of all the animals that they see on their walk, or perhaps to pick a leaf from each tree that they pass to be identified in the classroom. Have them draw a map of their route, noting any significant landmarks, and then see how it compares to Google Earth.
Whatever means you choose to use, try and take this opportunity to turn a week long initiative into a lifetime habit and help your pupils think about the consequences of inactivity and obesity, not to mention the issue of climate change. For older pupils, perhaps touch upon the benefits that exposure to natural light can have upon your ability to sleep, by facilitating a natural flow of melatonin. And while you’re at it, you could touch upon the deleterious effects of blue screen light upon our circadian rhythms. Here are two recent news reports that might add grist to your mill: Is Your Smartphone Ruining Your Sleep? and The Arrogance of Ignoring the Need for Sleep.
You never know, you might find at least some of your class gets to school raring to get on with their day.
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