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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

invicta Mon 20-May-13 21:07:23

Our school have a walking bus which we have won awards for. It runs every morning with between 10 and 25 pupils. We usually have three adults per bus.

The tips I'd have for a successful walking bus.
- parking at drop-off point
- good list of volunteer parents, including having reserves if regular walker is unable to make it
- making clear what time the bus leaves

Our school,is a village school with a wide catchment. Alot of people drive to the drop off point then the pupils walk the rest of the way.

ifindoubtnamechange Mon 20-May-13 21:50:08

If you normally walk to school: how you find this? What are the advantages and what are the disadvantages?
My DD hasn't started school but we plan to walk regularly when she does. The school is only a couple of streets away, so it makes sense. I would anticipae this being the lower stress option as driving for 30 seconds to spend 10 mins looking for a parking space doesn't appeal. Also more sociable to walk along with the other local kids. Only problem I envisage is the rain!

~ 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. I'll mention it if I bump into the Headteacher but as DD isn't enrolled yet don't think I could do this formally.
~ If you already take part in a Walking Bus to school scheme please share your top tips or things to avoid. What works best? From a friend... be on time!!

MerryMarigold Mon 20-May-13 21:59:58

Fanny, we are at an infant school. All kids are taken to class, whether it is be child minders, breakfast club (who get to go into class 'the back way') or parents. There is no lining up in the playground. Kids get taken in. If someone were to wander off at that time and decide to walk up to the shops by themselves (bear in mind they are 4-7), it would be the walking bus 'leader's' responsibility.

Risha Mon 20-May-13 22:48:00

~ If you normally walk to school: how you find this? What are the advantages and what are the disadvantages?
.........> Yes, we do normally walk/Bike to school. first thing first... we avoid the tension of traffic. a little exercise fresh air (might say less polluted). Get to meet friends and other kids. The little one enjoys the Buggy ride than the car ride. Time to have a nice chat as My concentration is on her and not on the driving. We get enough time to enjoy every beautiful thing on the road and also get cautious about the bad stuff as well. Disadvantages - Everyday had to convince my daughter with the benefits of walking so she stops complaining about " leg hurts, Why the school is this far... and ofcourse the weather complaints."

~ Are you able to try walking to school during the campaign week? If so please return to this thread and share your experiences!
.............> Definitely we will do. Not something new for us to implement, so we all should definitely be doing it. Would love to share about our achievements.

~ 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 for us though. Whatever be the encouragements, the distance.. most of the times restrict the parents from walking.

~ 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
.............>will do so.

~ If you already take part in a Walking Bus to school scheme please share your top tips or things to avoid. What works best?
....haven't seen in our school yet.

tootssweet Mon 20-May-13 22:50:34

My dc's go to a childminder before & after school but one of the (many) things that sold us about her was that she walks her charges to & from school. The vast majority of cm's in our area seem to drive everywhere which would mean 2 yo ds spending the majority of his day strapped in a car seat.
We do the 5 min walk to the cm in the morning & she walks to & from school. In the snow we used a sledge which the dc's loved. There can be a bit of grumpiness some mornings but I enjoy the time to have a chat & talk about the important & the inconsequential in dc's life.

Merry has a good point about the dropping off to classrooms. Ours is a primary school, all classrooms have their own outside doors and all children enter via those doors. In KS1 all children must be accompanied to their door by a responsible adult, there is no staff supervision in the grounds, no lining up. The teacher stands at the door for 10 minutes to let the children in, have a word with parents etc. It works really well. So, it is hard to see how a walking bus volunteer would manage to sort all the children out and deliver them to the right classrooms without changing a perfectly good system.

stephgr Tue 21-May-13 00:01:10

~ We only have a 10 minute walk which is fine although it feels much longer when it's raining or snowing. It has many advantages - a bit of exercise, we don't get stuck in traffic, we save money on petrol and we help save the environment. The main disadvantage is the weather.
~ We will be walking during campaign week
I think the waling bus is an excellent scheme because it encourages children and parents to move rather than sit in cars or buses plus it saves money

Bracketfungus Tue 21-May-13 00:41:06

I haven't read the whole thread, so hope I'm not just repeating others. I almost always walk unless the weather is horrific or I need the car after dropping them off.

Advantages... Slight fitness advantage for me. Can't really say it makes too much difference. 1 mile walk is not that much exercise for an adult really. Take public transport from school to work, or walk home if not at work. So either 2 or 4 mile walk for me. Good chance for kids to get fully awake in the morning.

Disadvantages... 20 minute walk means we are sometimes late. The very quickest we have done it in is 12 minutes, so there is not much potential for making up time if you set off late unless we all run the whole way.. However the traffic at he roundabout is so bad that there would be no advantage in taking the car.

What could be done to encourage parents to walk.... Workplaces could offer flexi-time so that parents can allow time for walking to school and then walking/ getting public transport to work where possible. If I am doing a job which I need the car to get to, I will drive the car to school.

I will be walking with the dc this week anyhow, but glad to hear about the 'walk to school week'. Wish I had heard about it from school.

No walking bus here, and loads of issues with poor parent parking outside school.

CouthyMow Tue 21-May-13 01:19:07

I just deleted my response, as it was rather impolite.

I'll try again.

Walk to school week doesn't take into account those who live rurally where there aren't always safe walking routes.

Walk to school week doesn't take into account those who have been placed at schools as far away as they can be without qualifying for free transport.

Walk to school week doesn't bear in mind those DC's that have parents with physical disabilities that are unable to walk their DC's to school.

And last, but by no means least, Walk to school week doesn't bear in mind those DC's who have physical disabilities and are unable to walk to school.

I can understand the sentiment behind it, but when my DS2 ends up in tears every year because he never gets a sticker or a certificate just because he HAS to catch the bus because of both his disabilities, my own disabilities, and the distance the school is away from our house, I understandably hate the fucking idea...

About as polite as I can be about this...

Snog Tue 21-May-13 06:41:27

We walk over a mile and I feel happy that there is at least some exercise in our day.
Road crossings have been upgraded near us and this is a key part of how happy I am to let my child walk on her own in our busy city.

HotheadPaisan Tue 21-May-13 07:00:43

We walk, it's a few minutes up the road. If the DC didn't get into their local schools we couldn't though.

Ohhelpohnoitsa Tue 21-May-13 07:41:17

Walking will be great when they are older. At the moment we cant walk through the gorgeous wood to school because it is majorly hilly and I cant take dc3 (1) in his buggy that way. The road way is along two fairly main roads. However, there are at least 7 children who drive from our road. Maybe if we were in a train with high viz stuff, it would be safer. May liok in to this. walking is so much healthier and less stressful. The truth is we have to get to school a good half hour early just to park otherwise therr are no pavements - nit good with a 5, 3 and 1 year old. Kia, you need to promote all this much more. I dodnt kbow about your link with it.

WouldBeHarrietVane Tue 21-May-13 07:51:47

My dc are under 4 at the moment but the walking bus sounds great! smile

Oodsigma Tue 21-May-13 08:23:43

We always walked as its much quicker except when I had SPD & couldn't even walk from the nearest parking place to school.
School uses 3 teachers every evening to police parking and has tried to get the street made one way ( but failed).
After school club has a walking bus but no one else does.
Dd2 goes to secondary this time so we've a term off from school run before dd3 starts nursery.

Weegiemum Tue 21-May-13 08:33:38

I went to school about half a mile (primary) and a mile (secondary) way, I walked every day.

My dcs school is about 7 miles (we chose a state school with specialist language provision) and they bus to school. Oldest, in secondary, walks 1/3 MIE to bus stop and gets 2 buses. Younger two walk similar distance but get school bus, no changes.

Clearly, for us (and most families at the school), walking isn't an option.

telsa Tue 21-May-13 11:01:13

We cycle to school and sometimes walk back. It is two miles and we just do not get up early enough to walk there. Walking home is fun though. We take our time, do window shopping (we pass through the centre of town. Sometimes stop off in the playgrounds).

It would be hard to walk to school as my children are 4 and 7. The 7 year old walks well, but the 4 year old sometimes protests and stands stock still. It takes a lot of coaxing to walk a long way. Unfortunately we live much further away from the school than other parents. I have wondered about a walking bus that we could join at a certain point though and hope in later years to get this going.

I will share the link.

BirdintheWings Tue 21-May-13 11:16:59

Disadvantages? Child who plays tuba...

bluecarrot Tue 21-May-13 12:04:42

I loved walking DD to school but now she takes herself and meets friends on way down. When she was little (2-3years) we made up stories about jungle adventures - manhole covers were snake pits, telegraph poles were giraffe legs etc. and had to avoid by jumping over or creeping past or whatever. She could walk miles like that and enjoyed it ( later did that game with mindees) as she got older we practiced her spellings and tables on the way and chatted about what she was excited about doing that day.

Sadly kids who live next door get a lift to school despite it being 10 mins walk away ( and parents come straight home after) and its such a bad example to set.

I think walk to school scheme is a bit pants for families who have to drive due to distance or other drop-offs after that one etc.

ToomuchIsBackOnBootcamp Tue 21-May-13 12:27:03

We walk to and from school, no choice as can only afford one car which DH uses to commute to work. It is a 15-20 minute walk across the village, with one busy road and the rest residential.

Advantages : getting some exercise, wakes me, Ds and the dog up in the morning and helps ds work off some energy on the way home, we can pop to park or corner shop, we chat about stuff, we meet other people and their dogs sometimes, Ds learns road/traffic awareness as a pedestrian, we don't have the stress of fighting for a parking space. Ds knows that car is for longer trips only. Benefits the environment too I guess, one less journey for pollution/fuel.

Disadvantages: not that much fun in bad weather or if the pavements are icy. But we get on with it, with clothing and boots. We live in NE scotland, if we waited for perfect weather, we would never go out!

I think a walking bus would help a lot, for the kids to get some exercise. There are quite a few mums around me who do take their cars for the same journey that we walk and happily admit is because they are lazy and just don't want to walk. I can see them being very happy to let someone else walk their kids!

PurpleThing Tue 21-May-13 12:27:17

Local primary is 2 hours walk away, not exactly feasible.

Ds will get school bus that picks several children up from around here. I don't know how it could work to get him picked up part way along the route, would be too open to error I think. The weather is very unpredictable here and some days you actually cannot walk, even in summer.

cocoplops Tue 21-May-13 12:41:37

We drive to school - it's 1.5 miles each way and I have to get back to work as soon as I've dropped off (same with pick up). I also think its a but far for my two (4 and 7) - although I know other children do and they would get used to it, and benefit from the exercise too. It's quite a narrow pavement too and the younger one can be especially vacant around roads! Probably if they did it more that would improve though.

We do try and do something to work to school during this week (usually the promise of a sticker and the peer pressure). I've done the 1.5mile with the eldest and parked a bit further away to make it more of a walk.

Walking bus sounds good and I know other parents who do walk from near us. But I don't think I'd be comfortable with my youngest going without me. Plus one of the reasons I do the job I do is so I can do drop off and pick ups and be there for them.

When they're a bit older and in good weather I might encourage them to walk on the days I don't work.

Theimpossiblegirl Tue 21-May-13 18:50:13

Walking to school would be impossible for my children and the majority of the children that attend their school as we are in a rural area. Most of the children live in villages and farms in a large area served by several small first schools and a larger middle school, where children either get the bus or are driven to school. The lack of pavements make it unsafe even for the children who live near enough to walk.

The walking bus does sound a good idea for urban areas, just wouldn't work around here.

Jinty64 Wed 22-May-13 19:31:20

We walk to and from school each day as it is only a short walk. The furthest houses in our school catchment are less than a 10 minute walk and yet many children are dropped by car. I understand if the parents are going on to work but many are not.

We live in a very safe area and lots of the children walk or cycle to school without an adult. I will probably let ds3 (6) in another year.

I don't think we would get the volunteers for a walking bus but it is a good idea.

PolyesterBride Thu 23-May-13 10:36:07

We don't walk because we live over 2 miles away and I have to drive to work afterwards. The only thing that could have allowed us to walk would have been to stop faith schools discriminating against atheists so my daughter could have gone to one of the schools within walking distance! Sorry, probably a bit off topic...

iwantavuvezela Thu 23-May-13 10:54:07

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

We only live 5 minutes from school so walk every day. The advantages are that we feel part of the community. As we walk we bump into children on there way to school, chance for parent to meet each other, and children walk to school together. The ability to be able to walk to school is a huge bonus for us, no stress of driving, finding parking, and it feels like a lovely way to start the school day. On the way home it gives my daughter and I a chance to talk about her day.

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

We would be walking 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?

Most of the children at our school walk, it is a local community school - so not sure there would be the need for a 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

I could sound it out with some parents, but see above answer

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

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