As kids take to the streets to trick or treat tonight, think about another route: your students’ route to school.
Tonight (or sometime this weekend!), kids across the country will participate in their communities’ “trick-or-treat” events. As we know, many of these include walking door-to-door to see what tasty treats will be handed out and showing off their costumes to neighbors and friends. While Halloween is an American favorite that many kids and adults alike enjoy, it also requires families to employ safe practices to make the experience enjoyable for everyone.
As you consider your child’s Halloween “trick-or-treat” route, consider another route that you may not have before: your students’ route to school. Students take many different paths to school, including busing; riding with parents or older siblings in the car; biking; or walking. If you live in a rural community, understandably bussing or driving are likely the only options. But if you live in an area where you can encourage your children to walk or bike, this can help promote healthy lifestyles. Studies show that students who walk to school get, on average, 24 extra minutes of physical activity per day, which helps promote cognitive functioning and heightens attentiveness.
While students who walk and bike arrive safely at school more often than not, there are still steps that parents can take to ensure a safe arrival. National PTA is a partner with the Safe Routes to School National Partnership to ensure that students across the country have the safest options for arriving at and leaving school. If you live in a community where students walk or bike, check out National PTA’s Tips for Safer Routes to School for ideas on how to ensure that your community is keeping its children as safe as possible.
If you have concerns about the ability of your students to safely walk or bike, reach out to your PTA unit to address them. Working with your PTA, you can get families involved in discussions with school leaders, city administrators, and state legislators to address concerns such as sidewalk locations, safe crosswalks and crossing guards, and bike paths and racks. The Safe Routes to School National Partnership has put together some information on local efforts for safe routes, as well as a “Getting Started” checklist with information on how families can begin the process in their communities. Working together, families can ensure that every child has a safe route to school.
Have a safe and enjoyable Halloween!
Tell us: how do you promote safe routes in your community? Respond below in the comments!