Walking School Bus launch at Paraparaumu School
02 November 2007
Walking School Bus launch at Paraparaumu Beach School
A new Walking School Bus will be launched at Paraparaumu Beach School next Tuesday November 6 arriving at the school about 8.45am, Kapiti Coast District Council’s Road Safety Coordinator, Jane Pearson, said today. “And we want people to come and greet it,” she said.
For those who don’t know what a Walking School Bus is, she has this to say: “Once upon a time, back in the good old days, when all children walked or cycled to school, getting fresh air and exercise was no problem.
“Today, more than half New Zealand primary school children are driven to and from school. That’s nearly double 10 years ago and nearly a third of New Zealand children get very little or no exercise.
“There’s also a growing concern about traffic congestion caused by vehicles around school gates, which often create an unsafe environment for children crossing the road and getting in and out of vehicles.”
The main reason for the change from walking to being driven appears to be convenience and time. It’s considered quick and easy to drop children at school and then go on to work or home. A further reason is concern for children’s safety. The volume and speed of traffic has steadily increased on the roads and makes parents less inclined to let children find their own way to school.
“The Walking School Bus is a fun, safe, and active way for our children to travel to and from school, with adult supervision. Each ‘bus’ walks along a set route with at least one adult ‘driver’, picking up children at designated stops and walking them to school. This process is reversed on the way home in the afternoons. The bus can go as little or as often as parents want to ‘drive’ it.
The service is free and the scheme eases the congestion around the school gates (every child on the ‘bus’ is potentially one less car on the road), as well as providing a safe, healthy and environmentally friendly journey for children to and from school.
This is also part of the School Travel Plan the Council, Primary Schools and Police have been working on over the past year.