Students encouraged to focus on safety ahead of Walk Safely To School Day

Students Aliyah Dardah, Knox Soekye, Naiarlah Slade-Lornie, Isaac Sunter and Jia-Ying Lee. Photo: Melinda Jane.
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This Friday, the 25th anniversary of Walk Safely to School Day is taking place in schools across the country, encouraging students to lead healthier, more active lifestyles by just adding a walk into their daily routine.

For Emma Snell, Principal at Kingswood Park Public School, the day is a significant one each year.

“Every year, it comes up on the calendar, and we try to do Ride Safely to School as well. That idea of walking safely and riding safely is really important in our context,” she said.

“The kids all live really close to our school. It’s not like in some other settings where they’re a really long way away from the school, most of ours are within four or five blocks, so pretty much everyone can walk or ride to get here.”

Championed by the Pedestrian Council Australia, the messaging around Walk Safely to School Day is focused on raising awareness of the health, road safety, transport and environmental benefits that regular walking, or alternative active transport like riding a bike, can provide for the long-term wellbeing of children, particularly given the childhood obesity epidemic that continues to affect one in four children.

“For us, it’s all about that being healthy, but also being safe,” Snell said.

“Being able to get to school safely, but then also having that exercise model as part of that as well, is obviously really important for being healthy and starting school right.

“For us, it’s really important that we have that great start to our day, so we’re ready for learning.”

Snell said that this year, there will be plenty of fun campaigns and activities to encourage little ones to get involved in the initiative.

“We’ll be encouraging them on the day to do it extra safely!” she said.

“We’ll have some staff out the front with little stickers and things from ‘Walk Safely to School’ just to give them that extra little bit of excitement. But, really, it’s part of our normal road safety program that we teach in class every year anyway – it’s just a great opportunity to reiterate that message.”

It’s for this reason that she’s encouraging everyone to get involved – not just today, but every day of the year.

“Every day, we’re always talking about walking safely to school,” she said.

“We’re always talking about crossing safely – you can’t get into our school without crossing a road, so no matter where they’re doing that around the school, it’s always really important to have that messaging coming through.”

Cassidy Pearce

Cassidy Pearce is a news and entertainment journalist with The Western Weekender. A graduate of the University of Technology Sydney, she has previously worked with Good Morning Macarthur and joined the Weekender in 2022.

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