What is a Safe Walking Ambassador?
A Safe Walking Ambassador is anyone who promotes the use and benefits of “Active Transportation” in their school!
What is Active Transportation?
Active transportation is any self-propelled, human-powered mode of transportation, such as walking or bicycling. Forms of active transportation include:
- Using a wheelchair
- Inline skating/ice skating/cross country skiing/snowshoeing
Benefits of Active Transportation
Physical inactivity is a major contributor to the steady rise in rates of obesity, diabetes, heart disease, stroke, and other chronic health conditions in Canada. Using active transportation ensures that everyone is active during their day and this helps us be healthier! There are many other benefits as well:
- Exercise and fresh air every day for the walkers.
- Get rid of extra energy, better concentration in class.
- Get to know your neighbourhood and feel safe in it.
- Learn important pedestrian safety skills.
- Walkers feel independent and confident.
- Less students being dropped off = less cars at school = safer school zone!
- Less cars = less pollution & greenhouse gas emissions.
- Walking is free! Driving a vehicle costs money (gas, maintenance).
How to Promote Active, Safe Transportation in your school.
Here are some ideas of ways you can promote active transportation in your school!
- Promote the benefits of walking to school (exercise, fresh air, less traffic around the school)
- Ask your teacher to help you organize an Active transportation event (see list below for idea’s)
- Make a presentation at a school assembly or in class about the benefits of walking and how to be safe while walking.
- Make a morning announcement about active transportation and share pedestrian safety tips.
- Ask your Principal or Teacher to contact the Ottawa Safety Council to book Pedestrian Safety Presentations or a Bike Rodeo at your school.
- Invite your friends to walk/bike to school with you.
- Set a safe pedestrian example when walking in your neighborhood.
Here are some examples of things that you can read over the announcements at school:
“Did you know that students who get physical activity in the morning arrive at school more alert and ready to learn? Studies have shown that students who get to school by walking score higher on tests! Walking isn’t just good for our bodies, it’s good for our brains, too!”
“Did you know that reducing the number of cars at schools improves the air quality and creates healthier environments? We can help keep our planet green and clean by walking to school. If you walk 1 km to and from school each day, you’ll save 0.153 tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions every week. That’s 76 party balloons!
“I know that walking and rolling to school is good for my body, my brain, and the environment, but do you know why I really do it? Because it’s fun! It means I get to hang out with some friends on the way to and from school. It’s way more fun than sitting in the back of my parents’ car.
Here are some examples of events that you can organize:
- iWalk Event/Walk Wednesdays – International Walk to School Day and Winter Walk Day happen the first Wednesday in October and the first Wednesday in February. On these days everyone who can is encouraged to walk or wheel to school day and/or all of the students go for a walk around the school that day! Another idea is to make every Wednesday Walk Day!
- “Walk of Fame” Event – Use sidewalk chalk to trace yours and your classmates who walk to school footsteps on the sidewalk around the school. Create a ‘walk of fame’ and have walking students sign their names in the shoes around the school!
- Rack Attack! – Organize a fundraiser to get a bike rack at your school! If you already have a bike rack – decorate it (ask your teacher first) and encourage students to bike to school and use it!
- Hold a “Walk to School” Fashion Show! – Organize a group of students to be in your fashion show. Pick fun music and different pieces of clothing or accessories that you might need to bring/wear on you walk to school, Teach students why it is important to dress for the weather and make sure you are visible! Some ideas of things you can have in your fashion show:
- Rubber boots/rain gear
- Winter clothing – highlight the idea of “layering”
- Bright reflective clothing for walking in the dark
- Sunglasses and hats for the sunny days!
- Different types of shoes – like comfortable runners for the warm weather and warm boots in the winter!
- Decorate some fun “Walk to School” t-shirts and showcase these at your fashion show too!
- Hold a “Bring a Buddy” Event – Plan a day where you invite your friends to walk with you to school! Hand out “Bring a Buddy” invitations to your friends and encourage the walkers on the Walking School Bus to do the same! For copies of “Bring a Buddy” invitations, contact the Ottawa Safety Council.
- Freddie the Foot Scavenger Hunt – Make up a bunch of colorful paper foot cut-outs with smiley faces on them. Place them around the school and neighborhood (i.e., on lamp posts, mailboxes, trees). Encourage your fellow students to walk to and from school that day and make a note of all of the places that they spotted “Freddie the Foot”. Those who spot Freddie the most get prizes!
Want to learn more about becoming a Safe Walking Ambassador?
Get in touch with our partner Green Communities Canada and find out more about their Active & Safe Routes to School Program.