Pennsylvania schools are being encouraged to participate in International Walk to School Day Wednesday, October 7. It’s a day in which schools across the world encourage their students to walk to school.
Pennsylvania’s Walk to School Day is coordinated by the Center for Nutrition and Activity Promotion at Penn State Hershey Children’s Hospital (Center) and funded by PennDOT.
Center’s Public Relations Manager, Danielle Sunday says most participating schools will have activities every day this week to encourage kids and parents to walk as frequently as possible.
She says this day will bring together kids from around the world, teaching them why it’s important to walk to school, increasing their physical activity on a daily basis, and reducing the congestion and pollution.
Sunday says the percentage of kids who walk to school regularly has decreased from 48 percent to less than 15 percent since 1969. She says this is caused by “stranger danger”—parents want to be sure that their child gets to school safely—and also a lack of sidewalks because people are building their homes in more suburban areas, farther away from schools.
Sunday says more than 200 Pennsylvania schools participated in Walk to School Day last year. Each had different programs and activities for that week. For example, some schools had a Walking School Bus activity, in which parents chaperoned kids as they walked from stop to stop picking up more kids—just like a school bus, without the bus.