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National Walk To School Week


This week, Monday May 11th to Friday 15th is National Walk to School Week and children, parents and teachers will be doing their share for a greener environment. Green-Schools from across the country will take part in this activity to help support and promote a healthier and greener environment.

Last week Paschal Donohoe TD – Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport – launched National Walk to School Week in Ballymun with pupils from Scoil an tSeachtar Laoch’s Green-Schools Committee.

“Encouraging our children, at an early age, to consider more sustainable ways of getting to school, other than the car, is essential. National Walk to School Week makes walking all or part of the way to school a fun experience and teaches our children the health and environment benefits attached to doing so,” the Minister said when addressing the pupils.

The National Walk to School Week is a Green-Schools programme that has been taking place for the last seven years and is joined by other initiatives such as walk on Wednesday Days and Feet First Fridays. Over 1500 schools will be participating this year and it is hoped that 20,000 students from across the country will join the Walk. It will be beneficial to the environment, health and also relieve financial and social pressures that travelling to school incur on parents.

Last year’s National Walk to School Week was a big success and this month – May – Green-Schools will be receiving their Green Flag for Travel. Green-schools have been working closely with Scoil an tSeachtar Laoch for the last two years to promote sustainable travel.

During this week there will also be walking competitions and fancy dress walks to school making it more fun for pupils, parents and teachers who aren’t used to walking to and from school every day, to join in and enjoy a different mode of travel. Some schools will declare a car-free zone and parents that usually drive their children to school will have to come up with alternative ways to get them there.

National WOW (Walk on Wednesdays) day will take place on the May 13th and it’s hoped the numbers participating will exceed last year’s 41,000 students who set the record for most pupils taking themselves to school by feet.

Walking is a very healthy exercise with many benefits to it. Exercising almost every muscle it also helps oxygen to travel throughout the body. This is a good kick-start for pupils who will spend the next few hours in classrooms where there are heaters running and less oxygen in the air. It has been medically proven that pupils who are lacking oxygen or are obese have poorer concentration spans but fair better in well ventilated atmospheres and exercised bodies.

So if you have children don’t forget to take part this week. You may have to get up a little earlier and carry an umbrella, but at least you will avoid heavy traffic. It may also provide you with the incentive to make it a regular way of travelling.

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