Walk Safely to School Day celebrated

Students and staff at St Mary's Castlemaine were proud to participate in National Walk Safely to School Day.
Students and staff at St Mary's Castlemaine were proud to participate in National Walk Safely to School Day.

Primary school-aged children in the Mount Alexander Shire joined children across Victoria to make those important steps towards a healthier future by participating in National Walk Safely to School Day on Friday May 19.
This year marked the 24th anniversary of National Walk Safely to School Day. Championed by the Pedestrian Council Australia, the initiative aims to raise awareness of the health, road safety, transport, and environmental benefits that regular walking, or alternative active transport (especially to and from school) can provide for the long-term well-being of our children, not just on May 19, but every day.
The principal of St Mary’s Primary School John Doherty said the students of St Mary’s love being active.
“As a school, we know that being physically active improves health, reduces stress, and is a great way to boost your self-esteem. That’s why being active is such an important part of the day-to-day life at St Mary’s. Physical education lessons, outside ‘brain break’ times and even helping out in the school vegie patch are all an important part of day-to-day life at St Mary’s,” stated John.
“This Walk to School Day, the students of St Mary’s will be out on the street being active again. They’ll meet up with friends and family to make their way to school on Friday.
After the walk, the students will be able to celebrate with our regular breakfast of toast on arrival as well as a fruit platter selection for that natural energy renewal.”
The national initiative also promotes healthy eating and encourages schools to Host a Healthy Breakfast on the day.
Dean McLaren, Walk Safely to School Coordinator for Campbells Creek Primary School told the Mail that around 20-25 of the students walk to school with a similar number riding or scooting.
“We will be hosting a healthy breakfast on the day of the walk with fruit on hand for the student’s arrival. We run a breakfast program to ensure that students have eaten before school,” said Dean.
Parents at Campbells Creek Primary said they feel it is very important that children walk to school to get exercise and stay healthy.
“We are even occasionally increasing the distance that the children walk to school each day,” commented one of the parents.
Apart from the physical benefits, regular walking (or similar) also has a favourable impact on children’s cognitive and academic performance.
Being active every day, including walking to school, can help make a difference for many Australians. Whether you’re a parent, teacher, or carer – everyone has a role to play in helping children and young people to lead active healthy lives.

Jade Jungwirth
Jade is the former Editor of the Tarrangower Times and has lived in the region for over 16 years.