Bracknell Primary School students have taken their first steps in the journey toward a healthier future by showing support for National Walk Safely to School Day, Friday, May 18.
The school’s young pupils have laced up their shoes and taken to the pavement, walking as a group from the Bracknell War Memorial Hall to the school grounds.
Now in its 19th year, National Walk Safely to School Day is a community initiative that aims to raise awareness of the health, road safety, transport and environmental benefits that regular walking (especially to and from school) can provide for the long-term wellbeing of children.
Apart from the physical benefits, regular walking also has a favourable impact on their cognitive and academic performance.
The annual event encourages primary school aged children to build walking into their daily routine by walking to and from school not just on Friday 18 May, but every day.
Bracknell Primary School principal Colin Pearson said the Walk Safely to School Day initiative provided a great opportunity to reinforce with students and parents the responsibilities associated with road safety, both on and off the bitumen.
“We have a significant portion of our students who already walk or ride to school on a regular basis and have a number of parents bringing their children in specifically to attend this school event,” he said.
Mr Pearson said being active was critical to a balanced and healthy lifestyle, as well as assisting with brain growth and function.
The participation from all sectors in this event reinforces and contributes to our sense of community – something that characterises our school and region.
“Through health and PE classes, our daily PE program and Friday sport, our students are offered numerous opportunities throughout the week to be active with their peers,” he said.
“In addition, messages from programs such as Move Well Eat Well, in conjunction with school-wide fruit breaks and the like, reinforce positive choices to students and hopefully establishes helpful life-long habits.”
Pedestrian Council of Australia chairman and chief executive officer Harold Scruby said physical inactivity was a major risk factor for many chronic diseases that could affect kids at different stages of their life, including mental illness, cardiovascular disease and cancer.
“One in four children in Australia are overweight or obese, and it is expected that numbers will reach one in three by 2020,” he said.
“We really need teachers, parents, carers to get behind this event and its objectives – the best exercise for all of us is regular walking.”
For more information on Walk Safely to School Day: www.walk.com.au/wstsd.