This topic is for paid for discussions. Please mail us at insight@mumsnet.com if you'd like to know more about how they work.

NOW CLOSED: It's Walking to School Week: talk to Kia about your DC walking to school – you could win a £150 voucher and a weekend loan of a Kia Carens

(141 Posts)
AnnMumsnet (MNHQ) Fri 17-May-13 12:07:43

You may know that week starting 20 May 2013 is Walk to School Week which promotes the benefits of walking to school.

In support of this campaign the car folks, Kia, have a scheme called the Walking Bus where they supply schools with all they need to encourage children to walk to school (for example by providing high viz bibs) and parents take on the role of a 'driver' and 'conductor' to escort children on a designated route to school.

Kia say "Did you know that over the past couple of decades, the number of children walking to school has fallen sharply. In 2011, 49% of primary school aged children and 38% of secondary school aged children walked to school, down from 62% of primary and 48% of secondary school aged children in 1991".

Kia would love to know what you think about this and the Walking Bus scheme and how you're going to get involved in Walk to School Week this year.

Please share on this thread....
~ If you normally walk to school: how you find this? What are the advantages and what are the disadvantages?
~ Are you able to try walking to school during the campaign week? If so please return to this thread and share your experiences!
~ If walking to school would be impossible for you, why is this and is there anything you can do to walk some of the way or to encourage other parents at your school to try the Kia Walking Bus?
~ Would you like to see this scheme introduced to your child's school? If so, do share the link with them and let us know what they say
~ If you already take part in a Walking Bus to school scheme please share your top tips or things to avoid. What works best?

Everyone who shares a tip, story or thought on this thread will be entered into a prize draw where one lucky MNer will win a £150 voucher for wallpaperdirect and a weekend loan of a Kia Carens*.

Thanks and good luck,
MNHQ

* ps car loan will be dependent on acceptance of Kias T&Cs which will be emailed to the winner

ouryve Fri 17-May-13 12:31:26

We always walk to school. It's sometimes hard work, as it's 1km each way and a steep hill. And the journey is affected by the weather. Uphill is hard work in the hot sun, or with the wind blowing in our faces. Heavy rain is even worse. We have waterproofs, but DS1 can't tolerate it on his face. He simply doesn't like weather.

And there's been a couple of times we've had to give up because the whole route has been one big sheet of black ice.

There's also been a few times when DS1 has refused to budge and I've had to call DH home from work. The last time he did that, DH parked the car at home made him walk with him, which put an end to that particular form of protest. It's still hairy sometimes if DS1 is a bit bouncy and impulsive - I have to give him instructions to remind him to wait at the many roads, etc, and not all drivers are pedestrian or child aware. We've had some very close shaves shock

I don't drive and we still have to do half of the walk if we catch the half hourly bus, so walking is a no choice thing, really.

There's been walking buses tried before in our village, and the kids who used it did respond well. I still have to take the boys, myself, anyhow, since they both have SN and need very close supervision (DS2 still wears a harness at 7) and I have to make sure they're safely handed over to their 1:1s at school.

Macdog Fri 17-May-13 12:41:20

I totally agree with ouryev as regards winter walking.
Our council grits/salts roads, but the pavements very rarely get treated. This makes it downright dangerous to walk to school over ice.
We have no option though, and have to make the decision to usually walk on road itself

Macdog Fri 17-May-13 12:42:27

Sorry ouryve

Tee2072 Fri 17-May-13 12:48:00

We don't own a car. We can't afford a car. I don't even have a license, although I do know how to drive, at least in the United States. grin

Our walk to school is 1.5 miles one way. So my son walks 3 miles a day and I walk 6. He is not quite 4 years old.

We love our walk. In all weather. In the rain we jump in puddles. In the cold we look for snow and ice. In the sun we sing our sun song and dance down the street. In the wind I hold his hand tight and hope he doesn't blow away. grin

Now that the weather is nicer I see a lot more people walking to all the schools in my area. It's lovely.

Blatherskite Fri 17-May-13 12:51:01

We could walk to school and have done a few times but it's a 25-30 minute walk when we're dragging 3yo little sister along with us and with the weather we've had this winter, it hasn't appealed much.

I'm hoping that once the sun comes out (it is going to come out right?) we can make the most of the sunshine and DS's bike parking permit (he's not allowed to park on the school grounds without one and I can't drag his bike and mine home alone) and bike to school on the mornings when DD isn't at pre school too.

On the days I have to drop them both off, I just wouldn't have time to bike everywhere and definitely not enough time to walk as I couldn't get between the 2 sites in time.

Things will get a lot easier in 16 months when DD is bigger and they're both at the same school.

I didn't realise it was Walk to School Week soon but I will try to walk if the weather is kind.

CheeryCherry Fri 17-May-13 12:54:50

Don't and didn't walk them to school as when I've dropped them off I go straight to work in the car. On the odd occasion when I finish early, I walk down with the dog.and we would walk back home.
Walking bus probably wouldn't work in our area as children travel quite a way to the school and there really isn't an area to park and meet such a bus.
Another school in the area is in the middle of an estate, their bus works well, the pupils love it!

Clayhead Fri 17-May-13 12:58:10

I always walk to school, no matter what the weather, it's non-negotiable!

It takes about 25 minutes.

We have recently moved and found it to be a great way of meeting people, we often divert to walk with other people and it has helped us get to know the area. I find my children, ds in particular, is better in the mornings once he's had the chance to burn off a bit of energy on the way to school.

We don't have a walking bus but I don't see why it wouldn't work here.

Hasitfallendownagain Fri 17-May-13 13:04:24

We walk. We only live about 100 metres away from the gate, so it wouldn't be worth going any other way anyway.

DD will be moving to a different site once she turns 7, it's slightly further (but still only about a 5 minute walk) in the opposite direction. Because I'll still be walking to the old site with younger DC, she wants to walk there on her own. I'd certainly be happier to let her go alone if there was a walking bus!

clux73 Fri 17-May-13 13:20:28

We walk to school every single day, rain or shine, as we do not have a car but even if we did I would still want to walk. It's a 15 minute walk, we bump into friends on the way, we talk about things, we play games like how many red cars can we spot. Its a great time to catch up with my girls. We live in London and our school does not have a Walking Bus but I think it would be a great idea and would be very successful. Everyone at the school lives within a 15 minute walk radius so in theory every pupil could use the Walking Bus.

Taffeta Fri 17-May-13 13:36:25

We live just over a mile away, uphill on way home. I start work at 9am so we rarely walk ATM. I try to walk on my days off at least to school, but am first to admit I'm a fair weather walker.

I park a fair distance from the school so there is some walking involved. My DC are very fit and one in particular is v sporty so I am not concerned they are sedentary.

We always walk when it snows as our road is lethal in a car. I hate it. The boots, the snow suits, the change of clothes, plus school bags, sports bags, music equipment. Donkeys.

ShatnersBassoon Fri 17-May-13 13:42:17

We always walk. We live just around the corner from the school, so there is no other option. I think even if we lived further away I'd walk, because I couldn't be doing with the faff of trying to park and then inevitably having to walk a fair distance anyway.

I would love to see a walking initiative set up for DC's school. I think it's a nice sociable thing to do, to bump into friends on the way and have a natter as you walk.

We always walk to school (1.5 miles each way). I combine it with walking the dog, so she gets 3 miles road walking before we head off for woods or fields.
There's no disadvantages. It's a bit miserable in very wet weather but we just wear waterproofs that DS can hang up at school.
It's a time to chat and we tend to see the same people every morning along the route, some of whom we now smile and wave to.

Now the weather is (mostly) getting better, I'll be walking to collect DS too. Again, a nice opportunity to chat about our day. When he was younger the walk home was a valuable 'decompression' time for him after being cooped up in school all day, as the merest hint of bad weather has them indoors in Wet Play hmm

I would love to have a Walking Bus at the school and have offered to volunteer for one in the past, although the idea wasn't taken up.

StainlessSteelCat Fri 17-May-13 13:59:42

~ If you normally walk to school: how you find this? What are the advantages and what are the disadvantages?
I like that I live close enough to the school to walk it, was main reasoning for wanting children to get into closest school. I like not having to use the car, saving money, and that we are all getting some exercise (I was going to say fresh air, but as we walk along a main road I'll skip that!).. It's good to bump into other people and chat, both for me and kids. It gets the children used to being active rather than assuming the car is essential. Taking the time to take in our surroundings, talking about what we see, counting house numbers, or talking about what happened during the school day on the way home. Also, there are plenty of other cars causing jams and congestion around the school, I like to stay out of it.
I don't like it in the rain - neither do the children. If the children are particularly tired it can be a long way along the last stretch .... and if it rains as well, everyone is miserable by the time we get home, Although that has been known to be a good excuse for hot chocolate - and we've earned it if we've walked it in the rain smile

~ Are you able to try walking to school during the campaign week? If so please return to this thread and share your experiences!
Will be anyway.

~ If walking to school would be impossible for you, why is this and is there anything you can do to walk some of the way or to encourage other parents at your school to try the Kia Walking Bus?
When I'm working I have to take the car as there just isn't enough time to get back home and then get to work. Or I need to take another child to nursery. So it's either walk or car, I can't really walk part the way.

~ Would you like to see this scheme introduced to your child's school? If so, do share the link with them and let us know what they say
~ If you already take part in a Walking Bus to school scheme please share your top tips or things to avoid. What works best?

firawla Fri 17-May-13 14:16:34

we walk everyday. i dont drive, so no choice. parking is not great near to the school anyway. ds does say to me i wish you could drive me, but as i cant - he has no choice

SacreBlue Fri 17-May-13 14:17:07

We didn't walk to school as kids as we lived in the country so school was too far away, we did have to walk to bus by grammar school tho. I don't think anything would have made it easier for us - perhaps biking it in the warmer weather?

My DS has walked to school (and nursery) always as we live close to his primary and only a couple of miles from his grammar. The closeness of schools is really the deciding factor for walking - by the time we would sit in traffic he would have walked it anyway! Also I have erratic work patterns so it's just not practical to be driving him.

The closeness of primary meant he was walking on his own by age 7, lots of his friends also walked so frequently he would have met them on the way and walked together. This was handy at home time as they would go in a group to the park and we parents would meet them all there.

I asked the police for a rape alarm for him to give me greater peace of mind even at this short distance of walking by himself.

Now he is at grammar he walks most often, takes his bike occasionally and from time to time I pick him up a little way past school if he has his HE cake or stew etc that he has made (and if it is bucketing)

Walking has increased his confidence, time-keeping and geographical knowledge of the area.

arcticwaffle Fri 17-May-13 14:28:31

Please share on this thread....
~ If you normally walk to school: how you find this? What are the advantages and what are the disadvantages?

Advantages. Environmentally friendly, don't need a car, all get fresh air and exercise. Time to chat to Dc. Meet neighbours. Stop to stroke a cat. Pop into shop.
DC can go to school alone when they get old enough, so you are not tied to chauffeuring older children.
Disadavantages. Hm. Can't think of any.

~ Would you like to see this scheme introduced to your child's school? If so, do share the link with them and let us know what they say

Our school has one which has worked well for a few years but now more parents are preferring to drive right up to the school (with problem parking and making it unsafe for the children walking) rather than use it.

~ If you already take part in a Walking Bus to school scheme please share your top tips or things to avoid. What works best?

We're not part of it as we live in the opposite direction but they have special breakfasts once a term, + stickers and reward systems for using it.

lljkk Fri 17-May-13 14:32:55

We virtually always walk or cycle; the biggest problems are stroppy uncooperative children (mine), dog mess sad, and sometimes people driving too fast or too close to the pavement.

If you already take part in a Walking Bus to school scheme please share your top tips or things to avoid. What works best?

DC school had an award-winning walking-incentive programme; 5-6 yrs ago it won loads of prizes and accolades and prize money, even. It's fallen in to disuse due to lack of volunteers and this is the big problem. Relying on and finding people who will volunteer to keep the reward scheme going.

CMOTDibbler Fri 17-May-13 14:35:24

We don't walk - its far too far away, and is a 15 minute drive on clear roads.

It wouldn't work for ds's school as it is not in a residential area, but I've seen walking buses in nearby villages

We walk to school and home again 99% of the time. It's only a 10 minute walk, so it's hardly taxing (although I do walk home again a slightly longer route to try to get some exercise!) It's environmentally friendly, we get some exercise and we can all have a chat.

The only time I don't is if it's really, really tipping it down and I think DS2 is going to scream his head off in the pram, as he hates the raincover.

It's quite a nice walk - though unfortunately a third of it is on a very, very busy main road with a narrow footpath. Big lorries hurtle down the road (despite it being 30mph) and I really hate it - particularly if DS1 is bringing a friend home, as it's difficult to get them both squashed safely against the wall! There is a crossing, but it doesn't have a lollipop person and sometimes people jump the lights too. I'd let DS1 do the walk by himself when he's older if it wasn't for the road. As it is, DS2 is 3 years younger than DS1 so I'll always be taking him anyway.

If you normally walk to school: how you find this? What are the advantages and what are the disadvantages?
Normally walk. Advantages are saving petrol and not having to find a safe parking space. Holding DS' hand (when he lets me!) and having a chat about random stuff!
Disadvantages are having to walk past the shop (nag nag) and other parents shocked faces at my DS' vocal tics and sudden running. And having to call said DS back again.

Are you able to try walking to school during the campaign week? If so please return to this thread and share your experiences!
Yes, do so already.

If walking to school would be impossible for you, why is this and is there anything you can do to walk some of the way or to encourage other parents at your school to try the Kia Walking Bus?
N/A

Would you like to see this scheme introduced to your child's school? If so, do share the link with them and let us know what they say
I think most people who can, do walk round here.

If you already take part in a Walking Bus to school scheme please share your top tips or things to avoid. What works best?
N/A

supergreenuk Fri 17-May-13 15:54:52

We walk unless I'm needing to drive on to another location after drop off.
The advantage is that we keep fit and get some fresh air. We also notice things we wouldn't in the car like the blossom or the dandelions turning into fluffy seeds. We also pass a stream and play poo sticks.
We do have a horrible hill though and the air is not quite so fresh. Loads of exhaust fumes and traffic.

MavisSnapdragon Fri 17-May-13 16:05:56

We always walk - out the front door, across the road and into school - 30 second commute! I need to join the gym now.....

chocolateshoes Fri 17-May-13 16:16:34

If you normally walk to school: how you find this? What are the advantages and what are the disadvantages?

We always walk to school as we live in the same village as the school and it is only 5 minutes. However it is a narrow lane with no pavements and I think a walking bus would be a great idea - if the kids all walked together & had hi vix vests then they would be much more notceable.

~ Are you able to try walking to school during the campaign week? If so please return to this thread and share your experiences!

yes - we will

~ If walking to school would be impossible for you, why is this and is there anything you can do to walk some of the way or to encourage other parents at your school to try the Kia Walking Bus?

Although a lots of the kids at the school live in the village it is surprising how many drive. My niece lives in Switzerland and her parents are pretty much forbidden from walking / driving with their kids. They are provided with hi-viz vests and learn to be independent from an early age. The walking bus idea would be slightly different would would be a good step in this direction.

~ Would you like to see this scheme introduced to your child's school? If so, do share the link with them and let us know what they say

yes it would be good

BornToFolk Fri 17-May-13 16:23:06

I don't drive and can't afford a car anyway so have little choice. Luckily, DS's school is a 5 minute walk away. It's on a housing estate so most children walk to school and I can't see a walking bus scheme really taking off!

However, I do think it's a great idea for schools where lots of children are driven. I walked to school every day and being useless at sport, it was pretty much the only exercise I got. I think regular walking is a great habit for children to get into.

Join the discussion

Join the discussion

Registering is free, easy, and means you can join in the discussion, get discounts, win prizes and lots more.

Register now