We want more students in Manitoba using active and sustainable transportation. Here are some resources and tools to get your students walking, biking and rolling to school. 

Most parents today have fond memories of making the journey to and from school; a generation ago, it was much less common for families to drive their children to school, or even to local community destinations. We work on this at a number of levels. From presentations to parent councils and school staff, all the way up to advocating for improved traffic calming in school zones. Everything we do is informed by the fact that we are more effective when we work together, and the issue of children’s mobility affects everyone. In order for families and students to feel confident about walking and biking to school, we need to work together to identify the issues and address them.

 

The standard approach is to use the School Travel Planning framework, which looks at five different factors known as the “5 Es”: education, encouragement, engineering, enforcement, and evaluation. The most effective programs include all five elements, and we offer support for each.

To get you started with active school travel programs, our Program Handbook includes resources to address all 5 E’s of a successful school travel plan.

Making The Case

  • Parent Council / Staff Meeting / School Division Presentations: Unsure about active school travel? We come to you to engage in a dialogue about walking and wheeling to school, why it’s an issue, and how to increase it. Drop us a line for more info.
  • Fact Sheet on Independent Kids and Safety
  • Making Children Count. A call to action to increase active school travel! This report is a snapshot of Manitoba and includes study results, health challenges faced by youth, and possible actions to improve rates of active school travel.
  • The ParticipACTION Report Card on Physical Activity for Children and Youth is the most comprehensive assessment of child and youth physical activity in Canada. The 2015 Report Card is full of information on how the status quo, which limits children’s freedoms, is harmful to their health.
  • Manitoba Healthy Schools. Manitoba is invested in student health, and has grants available to support student well-being.
  • Saving Money and Time with Active School Travel. You might have heard that schools and teachers simply don’t have the resources to focus on how kids are getting to school. We put those arguments to rest.

Education

Goal: foster the skills, confidence, and awareness to allow students to walk and wheel to school safely
Stakeholders: schools, school divisions, parent councils, police services, public health
Examples: challenging perceptions of danger, cycling skills workshops, classroom materials

Challenging Perceptions of Danger

Many parents drive because they aren’t confident in their children’s ability to get to school safely on their own. In fact, there is ample research to support walking to school as a part of building the independence that helps children to thrive. It is important that schools are equipped to challenge these negative attitudes, as they can reduce the effectiveness of active school travel programs.

Cycling

Curriculum Connections for Teachers

Classroom Resources for teaching Active School Travel, Waste Reduction, and Composting. Active School Travel has a place in every subject!

 

 

Encouragement

Goal: inspiring students, parents and school staff to try active travel modes
Stakeholders: school staff, parent councils, school divisions, elected officials, public health
Examples: walk and wheel events, challenging perceptions of danger, friendly competition, walking school buses, promoting all-weather outdoor activity

Walk and Wheel events

School communities can promote walking and wheeling by participating in seasonal events that are celebrated by schools across Canada every year:

  • October: Walk to School Month
  • February: Winter Walk Day and Winter Bike to School Day
  • May/June: Bike to School Week

Visit our Walk and Wheel events page for information and resources.

Drive to 5+ / Park and Stride

Encourage or enforce a designated drop-off area a short distance from the school. The City of Nanaimo has a great guide for getting this started.

Province-Wide Count / BikeWalkRoll

It’s a friendly competition to see which schools are walking and biking the most! In October, February, and May, we call on every school in Manitoba to collect survey data on how their kids are getting to school. Try out a test survey today

Parent Council / Staff Presentations

Parent and Staff buy-in are important parts of promoting active school travel. The Active and Safe Routes to School Program regularly presents to parent, staff, and administrator groups on programs that can get more kids walking and wheeling to school. Please contact us at asrts@greenactioncentre.ca to request a 20-minute presentation.

Weekly Programs and clubs

Help families work active school travel into their lives bit by bit with a weekly program. Known under many names, a school “Walking Wednesday”, “Footloose Friday”, or biking club helps ease families into walking or wheeling to school.

Challenging Perceptions of Danger

Many parents drive because they aren’t confident in their children’s ability to get to school safely on their own. In fact, there is ample research to suggest that children are more at risk by NOT walking to school. It is important that schools are equipped to challenge these negative attitudes, as they can reduce the effectiveness of active school travel programs.

Removing Weather Barriers

Polar Bear Clubs: Families might not want their children walking outside in the cold. Polar Bear Club members demonstrate that they’re ready by allowing students to play outside when the school has indoor recess!

Active School Travel Charter

You can accelerate your steps towards active school travel by getting support through your school division School Board support is crucial to getting more kids walking and wheeling to school. Here are samples from Halton District School Board, the Toronto District School Board, and the City of Hamilton

Walking School Bus

A Walking School Bus is a group of children walking together under the supervision of one or more leaders or “drivers,” following a prescribed route and schedule. Like a regular school bus, a Walking School Bus offers a safe, dependable, healthy, and green way for children to get to school instead of being driven by car.

Resources and case studies:

Engineering

Goal: creating safe and accessible school sites, neighbourhoods and routes to school
Stakeholders: school staff, school divisions, municipalities
Examples: traffic and wayfinding signs, parking restrictions, crosswalk improvements, crossing guards, roadway design

Resources

Enforcement

Goal: ensure traffic and parking rules are obeyed to improve safety at and around schools
Stakeholders: police services, municipal bylaw staff, school staff, school divisions
Examples: monitor speed, ticket traffic violations, supervise student drop-off locations

Resources

 

Evaluation

Goal: use data to design effective solutions, measure success, and demonstrate impact
Stakeholders: school divisions, public health, ASRTS and STP Facilitators, municipalities
Examples: walking and cycling audit, student hands-up surveys, traffic counts, family travel survey

Resources

  • Proximity Maps show how students are getting to school. It’s a great tool to show the potential to increase active school travel rates.
  • Parent Surveys. Engage your parent community to find out their greatest concerns over children walking or wheeling to school.
  • Neighbourhood Walkabout and Traffic Survey: Walkabouts help identify barriers to walking or wheeling in the community (e.g. missing sidewalks, need for crossings, broken pavement, high traffic, etc.).
  • School Travel Surveys: Use BikeWalkRoll, a simple online hands-up survey with students, to figure out how students are getting to school in your community, division, or region! This is a key part of the province-wide counts we do across Manitoba in October, February, and May.
  • CounterPoint. A traffic counting tool that includes ALL forms of transportation!

Our Program Handbook and Resource Guide includes other tools and methods for evaluation.