Walk to School Day for students, families attempts to build healthy habits | NevadaAppeal.com

Walk to School Day for students, families attempts to build healthy habits

Dave Frank
Nevada Appeal Staff Writer

Mark Twain and Seeliger elementary schools will encourage students and parents to park the family car Wednesday and walk, bike or skateboard to school.

The two Carson City schools are trying to get students to excise as part of the International Walk to School Day. Students who have to ride the bus can walk around their school playgrounds.

Getting children to walk or bike to school is important for several reasons, said Dan Allison, coordinator of the Carson City School District’s Safe Routes to School Program.

It helps them get the exercise they need, he said, which is especially needed for students who don’t play sports and need the exercise for their health.

Giving up driving also helps the environment, he said, as it cuts down on unnecessary gas and pollution.

Parents are important to the day, he said, because their objections to children walking to school are the most common reason children ride.

Parents worry about safety and schedules, Allison said, when they should be walking to school with their children asking themselves “Could we be doing this more often? Could we be doing this one day a week? Could we be doing this two days a week?”

Laura Austin, principal of Mark Twain Elementary School, said her school has been involved with the day for several years and it will encourage students to walk to school this year with raffles for items including glow-in-the-dark shoelaces.

The school wants students to build healthy habits for throughout the day and make walking a family activity as much as possible, she said.

“Kids do tend to be more sedentary these days,” she said.

The walk could be something different than parents are used to, but it can be a fun, said Stacy Lauderbaugh, president of the Seeliger Elementary School Parent-Teacher Association.

“It reminds us all to take time to spend with our kids,” she said.

The Walk to School Day in Carson City is part of the district’s Safe Routes to School Program, which also includes safe bike parking areas, traffic flow and safety improvements, bicycle helmets and the monitoring of speeding in school zones.

Walk to School Day nationally was started under the National Safety Council in 1997 and is expected to include 5,000 schools from across the country this year.

– Contact reporter Dave Frank at dfrank@nevadaappeal.com or 881-1212.