Get your students moving! Every October, thousands of Manitoba school children will join millions of others from over 43 countries to celebrate International Walk to School Month (IWALK). Sign up to participate in IWALK 2018 to help promote healthy living, start important conversations about the environment, and win great prizes.
Participating can be as simple as promoting walking and biking through school announcements or newsletters, hosting a school-wide walk, or organizing a clothing or shoe drive. We have the resources you need to make it happen.
*We encourage schools to participate in the way that they see fit, and schools are free to put on a Walk to School Week or even Walk to School Day.
International Walk to School Month (IWALK) FAQ
- What is International Walk to School Month?
International Walk to School Month, or IWALK, is an annual event held in October every year. Schools can participate for a day, a week, or the entire month, during which the school or individual classrooms host fun activities to encourage students to walk and to address barriers to walking in the school community. We have ready-made resources and event ideas to make it easy for coordinators to find something that suits their school.
- How do I sign up?
Click on the “Register” button, just above this FAQ! Fill out the short form and we will be in contact with you to the event!
- Why should I do Walk to School Month?
Children’s health. Children need activity to develop physically and mentally, but they are sedentary like no generation before them, which has led to an increase in associated health conditions like depression, obesity, and sleep irregularities. Fearing for kids’ safety has also led to a sharp curbing of childrens’ freedom to explore their neighbourhoods independently.
The environment. There is an urgent need to reduce our energy use and shift away from fossil fuels, to minimize the impacts of climate change and air pollution that can affect the development of young bodies.
Strain on teachers. Being active in the morning is proven to increase children’s ability to focus, improving behaviour and academic performance.
International Walk to School Month helps address these problems by allowing schools and students to make a temporary commitment to walking. This can be anything from piloting a walking school bus to designating a drop-off and pick-up area away from the school to reduce traffic congestion. Even small events start conversations about the barriers to walking in the community, such as traffic concerns, lack of safety training, and streets poorly designed for youth and children to get around independently. The momentum from events like this can carry into discussions about making active travel easier all year.
- What about kids that can’t walk?
International Walk to School Month is an inclusive event, and all forms of active transportation can be encouraged—we like to use “rolling” as a catch-all term for any wheeled mode of transportation that also includes wheelchairs and other mobility aids. For kids who live too far to walk regularly, drop-off zones can be set up to allow children to walk part-way or to join groups of friends who live closer to school.
- I don’t have the time to do this by myself, but I’m interested! Can you help?
Absolutely! We provide ready-made resources and activity ideas for teachers, but our events are not prescriptive! We encourage teachers to scale the event based on what resources they have available. A strong “Walk to School” day or week with lots of support and teacher buy-in will likely have a greater impact than more diluted messages over a long period. Many schools have put on successful “transportation weeks” where they explore many different modes of sustainable transportation, including transit. No matter what, we recommend engaging your school community fully: your school’s parent council, sustainability committee, or student green team for help in planning and promoting your events.
- How do I win prizes?
You are entered in our prize draw when you complete our short feedback form after the event, which includes participation numbers. You also get an additional entry for every school you refer to participate. We make sure that schools outside of Winnipeg won’t be stuck with prizes only redeemable in the city.
Ideas and Materials
We have some great tools and resources to help guide you in making International Walk to School Month a success. For handouts event ideas, and curriculum tie-ins, visit our Resources for Teachers Page.
2017 Prize Winners
Thank you to all the schools in Manitoba who participated in International Walk to School Month 2017! We’re happy to see you eager to celebrate walking and healthy living, and hope you join us again in the Spring for Bike to School Month and Clean Air Day
|Bike Gear Prize Package||Shaughnessy Park School & Waldheim School|
|Classroom Pizza Party from Pizza Hotline||St Boniface Diocesan High School|
|Winnipeg Jets Hockey Prize Package||Balmoral School|
|Movie Night Prize Packages & Manitoba Museum Passes||Ruth Hooker School & Gordon Bell High School|
|Wheelies Passes||École Sir William Osler|
Finally, thank you to this event’s sponsors – the Province of Manitoba, Department of Health, Seniors and Active Living and Manitoba Public Insurance.