The Walking School Bus promotes exercise and a safe way to school
By Sarah Te Slaa, Multimedia Producer/ Anchor - email
Fifty students from Irving Elementary, staff members, and volunteers make up this Walking School bus.
Walking to school is an easy way for kids to get in a little exercise before classes start. And now first-time program is making that easier and safer for students. It's called The Walking School Bus.
This Walking School Bus is approaching bus stop number three. There aren't any wheels on this bus to go round and round, but you will hear the pitter patter of little feet. Fifty students from Irving Elementary School, staff members, and community volunteers make up this Walking School bus.
"What a great way to build a sense of community, for the kids to have physical activity in the morning before school, and it's just a win-win situation," says Kelli Tuttle, the head physical education teacher for the Sioux City Community School District.
Parents can drop their kids off or kids can walk to one of four designated bus stops. They'll wait with trained volunteers until the bus arrives.
"They will walk as a group in pairs to the next bus stop and at the next bus stop is when they will pick up the rest of the volunteers and those kids at that bus stop," says Angela Drent with the Siouxland District Health Department.
As the kids wait for the group to arrive at their stop, they get a punch on their cards for prizes. The prizes are incentives to keep the kids walking, which is the whole goal of the program.
"It does promote walking, it does promote a healthy lifestyle, and maybe you just want to have your kids have a supervised walk to school and it provided that for our parents," says Ron Koch, the School Administrator Manager at Irving Elementary School.
Organizers hope this first bus route will be the start of many more.
"Our goal would be that we could do this in the fall and in the spring every year and hopefully have enough volunteers to be able to at some point do it everyday," says Koch. "It had a really good feeling and it would be really nice to provide that for these kids."
The Walking School Bus is a partnership with the Siouxland District Health Department and the Sioux City Community School District. They received a grant for $4,850 for the program to pay for the prizes, signs, and safety vests.
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