Workshop Guides Elementary Schools on Walking and Biking Programs
A pair of Maitland mothers who helped launch a walk-bike to school program for Dommerich Elementary School are now helping a handful of other schools launch similar programs. Walking to school is a healthy idea, but proponents say you have to make it safe.
[School officials and parents learn about how to make walking and biking to school safe for kids]
A generation ago, most kids either walked or biked to school. Today, kids who walk or bike to school are in the minority. Childhood obesity is also on the rise compare to a generation ago, and health experts are hoping to combat that by encouraging kids to start walking or biking to school.
So Healthy Central Florida, Florida Hospital and the Winter Park Health Foundation sponsored a workshop for parents and schools to encourage walking and biking. Michelle Sartor is one of the moms who launched Dommerich’s program, she’s now Health Central Florida’s Walking Coordinator.
“Before we started, on International Walk to School day, which is the biggest day of the year for participation, we had about 100 bike-ped students, and now we have between 350-and 400, that’s at Dommerich. Other schools have seen the same thing, if you encourage and promote and reward the students, they want to participate,” she says.
The workshop outlined different things that need to be addressed to increase walking and biking to school. Among them, audits of sidewalks and cross walks, which might need city intervention to improve their safety. The workshop also talked about different ways to teach pedestrian safety.