An informal walking bus is a group of children walking to/from school together with their parents/carers
How Does it Work?
Parents are usually responsible for their own children.
Everyone meets at a pre-arranged time and walks to school together. This could also be planned to take place or pick up from a Park and Stride site too.
Participants may or may not wear high vis. If they do it will make the scheme more prominent.
More people join the Walking Bus just because they see it, they are going that way anyway and the children want to join the others. It can become a fun way to travel to/from school with social benefits for the parents/carers too.
A group of parents/carers and children is very visable and can encourage drivers to slow down in the area.
Why is it a Good Idea?
No commitment is required.
No forms need to be filled in.
No volunteers are needed.
Can develop into normal daily practice encouraging new parents/carers and pupils to be invovled.
Lots of benefits - reducing school gate congestion, improved air quality, activity for parent/carer and child, social benefits, information sharing and visability in the neighbourhood to help with road safety.
It could help children be at school in plenty time, focused and alert.
It empowers parents/carers to be involved and supportive of their school and its community.
Parents/carers must understand and commit to accompanying their own child/children, i.e., no-one else is taking responsibility for other children. This needs to be clearly set out to parents/carers and children wherever the walking bus is promoted.
It can be promoted through the school to show it’s not just a group of friends walking together.
Some help may be required in identifying pick up points and routes should the walking bus evolve. Routes should be as safe as possible and parents/carers also should model good road safety skills.
Setting Up an Informal Walking Bus
The school can either promote an informal walking bus and guage the first interested parties to start off. You could also round up a few parents/carer in your neighbourhood and arrange to walk to school together and then approach the school to promote further.
A crowd attracts a crowd and before you know it you will have a walking bus.
Meanwhile you can work on the requirements for a volunteer-accompanied Walking Bus if you wish to do so.
By the time this is launched many parents and children will be so used to walking as a group that volunteers should be easy to find. Parents will then have the option of walking with the group or leaving their children to walk safely with volunteers.
You could offer an incentive, such as a pledge or sign up to join the walking bus and offer all signed up a keyring or hi vis string bag - check out our products.