We are currently working towards achieving our Bronze Award with Modeshift STARS. This is the national schools awards scheme that is established to recognise schools that have demonstrated excellence in supporting cycling, walking and other forms of sustainable travel.
This leads nicely onto….
You have heard of ‘Park and Ride’ so why not ‘Park and Walk/Scoot/Cycle’… The charity Sustrans has this to say on the benefits of exercise.
Getting out walking or cycling burns calories, gets your heart pumping and works your legs and abs. It can also lift your mood, put a smile on your face and improve your general health and wellbeing.
Being inactive is a serious threat to our collective health – research shows that keeping physically active can reduce the risk of heart and circulatory disease by as much as 35% and risk of early death by as much as 30%.
It’s recommended that adults take part in 2.5 hours of moderate activity per week. But current physical activity levels in the UK are low: only 40% of men and 28% of women meet these minimum recommendations.
One way to achieve this target is to do 30 minutes’ exercise at least five times a week – the perfect length of time for short, local journeys on foot or by bike. By swapping short car journeys with cycling or walking, you can easily build exercise into your day and reap the health benefits. Research shows adults who cycle regularly have fitness levels of someone up to 10 years younger.
More on the benefits of exercise can be found at the following web address
The charity has lots of helpful tips on how to make walking fun for kids.
How to make walking fun for kids
Younger children get bored easily and may need a bit of encouragement to keep going. Here are our top tips for making walking with kids’ fun:
· Focus on an exciting destination for them like a park, a playground, woods or a pond where they can run around freely and explore
· Choose a wiggly, winding route rather than a long, straight, one
· Take a camera and ask them to help take photographs of your journey
· Encourage your child to invite a friend along to share the fun
· Take your dog along for the walk and if you don't have one, see if you can take your neighbour's
· If children are flagging, take a break and refuel with healthy snacks and drinks
· Add excitement by walking in fancy dress or pretending to be characters from their favourite book
Walking with babies and toddlers
If you are walking with a baby, you will need to carry them. Toddlers who can walk themselves will get tired quickly, so make sure you bring a pushchair if you are going for a long walk.
A very wide range of baby and child carriers is available, ranging from those where a small baby is strapped to the parent's chest, keeping safe and warm snuggled next to mum or dad, to rucksack-style carriers where an adult can carry a toddler on their back.
Carriers enable adults to do a greater range of walks than with a pushchair, although there is a risk of losing your balance so it's best to avoid very difficult walks.
Pushchairs are a great option for short and local walks as children can hop out and walk when they want to or get a ride if they're feeling tired (or if you need to get somewhere quickly!). Double buggies take two children either side by side or one behind the other. Another option is to attach a buggy board to the back of your pushchair which an older sibling can stand on and hitch a ride.
For more adventurous walking, three-wheelers or all-terrain pushchairs with pneumatic tyres can be a good solution.
While you can legally take a pushchair anywhere that you’re allowed to walk, you may want to avoid rough surfaces, very narrow paths, steep hills and routes with lots of gates or stiles. Most traffic-free routes on the National Cycle Network are ideal for pushchairs.
When walking with children in carriers or pushchairs it's important to remember to:
· protect them from the sun with sun hats and sunscreen
· keep them warm with extra layers and a hat as they won't be moving and working up a sweat like you.
Sustrans advice on teaching your child to safely cross the road….
One of the most effective ways to prepare children is to start young and practice through real experience, like walking to school, the park or the playground. Children who develop road awareness in primary school are in a much better position when they make the transition to secondary school.
There is no legal minimum age when a child is allowed to walk on their own. It's up to you and your child and will depend on their confidence and the routes they're taking.
How to teach your child road awareness
When introducing young children to road awareness it's important to bear in mind that they perceive traffic in different ways to adults.
They can't always judge the speed or distance of vehicles or where sound is coming from because their peripheral vision is two-thirds that of an adult. Children can also be easily distracted.
What you can do:
· set an example: stop, look and listen, don't take risks and avoid using your mobile phone when crossing the road
· bend down to their eye level to get an idea of what they can and can't see
· find a safe place to cross where you can see easily, ideally at a crossing or away from parked cars and when it's clear, walk straight across
· talk about the traffic you see on your way and the best places to cross, and ask questions about the speed and size of different vehicles
· in quiet areas, gradually allow your children to practice making decisions about where and when to cross roads
For more information and advice about road safety, visit The Department for Transport's Think! Education site.
As children reach upper primary school they will want to become more independent. Use this time to reinforce their road awareness and gradually encourage them to make their own decisions:
· practise walking to school and to other destinations together. Start to let them lead the way and make decisions about where and when to cross
· once you’re both confident, they could walk a little further ahead
· when they are ready to go it alone, work out a route together using quieter roads and avoiding busy junctions. Walk the route with them to point out good crossing points and things to watch out for
· encourage them to walk with local friends (you may want to set some ground rules with other parents first)
· remind them to avoid distractions such as chatting to friends, using mobile phones or wearing earphones when crossing roads
· download the Green Cross Code (pdf) to take out with you
(This information was taken from the Sustrans website on 22/04/2018 at https://www.sustrans.org.uk/ )
Other ideas can be found at https://www.roadsafetyheroes.co.uk/early-years-under-5-lessons
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Parson Drove Pre-School
c/o Alderman Payne Primary School
07503 165432 07503 165432