Recent News & Great Ideas from Kelsey Community School in The Pas!
About a year ago, ASRTS's Jackie Avent single-handedly delivered our School Travel Planning Facilitator Training at Kelsey Community School in The Pas, where traffic issues around the school are problematic, and a huge safety concern.
We recently spoke with Tracy Kirkness, Family Liaison Worker at the school and learned about some wonderful developments they have initiated. Essentially, our STP training catalyzed their new iWALK Club to encourage more kids walking, as well as discouraging traffic around the school.
They are encouraged by the results they've seen so far. And we see this as a great success story to have come out of the STP Training we did with this community. First steps forward! A big thank you goes out to Tracy Kirkness for providing us with the great images to go with her description of the program below:
We did develop our iWALK Club from information we gathered in that session, which led to this initiative. We’ve had it ongoing ever since. We got some money from InMotion to support it. The way it works is this:
We’ve developed a card with 40 spaces on it, and every time a student walks to or from school, they can have their card marked. Because we want to include as many students as possible, if the student used some form of AT to get to/from school, they get a mark. So if they walked to/from their bus stop, or if their parents dropped them at least 2 blocks away from school and they walked the rest – they get a mark/stamp.
And so to encourage as many kids to participate as possible, every student who wants a card gets one. Every 10 marks they get a star & once the card (40 marks) gets filled, the student gets a leaf with their name on it that they can then place on the bare greening tree we’ve put up. They also get their name added to the monthly draw we do for various prizes. Generally, we have 6-7 winners every month, and the prizes they receive are usually things that encourage more physical activities: ie. balls, kites (in spring), inflatable sleds (winter). We also get more educational-type things too: eg. magnets, science kits, little games and crafts, some scratch books – mostly under $10.
Response to this has been mostly good, however we did hear complaints from some parents at the beginning – mostly around their needing to go to work, and how there isn’t time to walk their kid 2 blocks. For many parents, time and safety is an issue (they feel they don’t have the time to walk their child 2 blocks, and that yet it’s unsafe to have them walk alone). Given that one of our goals of this program is to decrease traffic around the school, we do our best to encourage parents to consider this option (dropping their child off at least 2 blocks away, so they can walk the rest).
That said, it’s hard to say if there’s been an impact on the traffic – especially in front of the school, where it’s particularly bad with parent drivers doing all sorts of things (i.e. traffic violations) that really create a tense, unsafe environment in front of the school – where we also had one child hit recently. Fortunately, the injuries weren’t life-threatening, but this is still a problem. On the side of the school we have a parent parking lot, and I’d say traffic there has improved – but not in front.
Since starting this, we’ve seen a lot of cards coming in, and this program is really working well for those kids who’d already been walking, because not only does it reward their efforts – it also acts as an incentive to get them to school in the first place (attendance for them is an issue).
We’ve made this as easy as possible for teachers to participate in – but left it at their discretion when it comes to how they incorporate it into their classroom. One thing we may consider is changing the prize draws from monthly to weekly (drawing 1 or 2 prizes) – which may make create a greater awareness – with more reminders to participate on an ongoing basis.
More information can also be found on the Kelsey Community School website.
Clean Air Day is coming!
Mark June 5, 2013 on your calendar, and register your school today
! Also, watch for the winner of our Clean Air Day Poster
contest to be announced in the next issue of Off on the Right Foot.
Check out this neat idea
for assessing routes to school: Rainbow Routes aims to get more kids walking to school:
Have you seen it? Bike Winnipeg! One of our new video's gone viral!
Stay tuned for another video that shows how cool that walk to school can be! We'll be featuring it in an upcoming newsletter!
New helmet law
for kids on bikes is coming soon to Manitoba.
“Go and open the door. Maybe outside there's a tree, or a wood, a garden or a magic city." ~ from The Door, Miroslav Holub
2 Poems inspired by movement:
A World to Play
Playing is the world that I see,
all the grown-ups tell me what to do,
I don't listen, I keep playing
I would love to be a playing monkey!
The Magic Day
Unicorns, fairies, other kinds!
Magic worlds behind the signs,
Just open the door, it's true to be true,
There's a real life in you
Let's stop sitting down in school all day,
go and run and play,
Your body's made for moving,
It's not made to sit down it's made to run and play -- and that's the way it goes
There's more to life than sitting down, run and play, walk all day,
Life is more important than you think,
I would love to be a running monkey!
~ by Mikaela G-C, age 7
Reach the Active and Safe Routes to School in Manitoba program team at:
If you like what you read, become a member of Green Action Centre (membership is free!), visit us at greenactioncentre.ca or make a donation
Happy Spring to all of you, from all of us at Active & Safe Routes to School!