Why We Encourage Walking to School

October is Walk to School Month, a global initiative designed to promote health and wellbeing and reduce congestion in our daily lives.

Our expert contributor, Keren Ben Ezra tells us more about creating good habits for our children and families.

Over to Keren…

“Coming to and from nursery on foot is an opportunity for children to be physically active by walking, scooting or cycling first thing in the morning prior to sitting in a classroom, or at the end of the busy school or nursery day.

It is a precious time when children can connect with their parents, carers and the community. As a parent, I find that the morning is great for communicating with my children and being present for them. Discussing what children see, feel, and smell on the way to nursery or school can be stimulating and broadens their horizons.”

Chief Medical Officers in the UK recommend that children should do at least 60 minutes of moderate to vigorous exercise every day. Even a short walk to school contributes towards physical activity targets for children and adults. Supporting children to be more physically active from a young age increases the likelihood that they will continue to be physically active as teenagers and into adulthood.

Walking to school benefits children and parents. Over half of parents interviewed in 2016* said that their child’s mood improves after walking to school and almost 40% said that helping parents feel happier is one of the key benefits of walking. Compare this to an earlier survey in which 32% found driving the school run as stressful as their job; not a great start to anyone’s day

Regular outdoor exercise tends to have an immediate impact on children’s behaviour in the classroom. As teachers, we see that concentration can improve as a result of regular walking, and in turn this helps us, as nurseries to achieve the best learning outcomes for our pupils.

The walk to school with parents and carers also provides an opportunity for children to learn life-long road safety skills. Children who have walked to school from a young age are likely to feel more prepared with the skills required to transition to greater independent travel.

Children become more aware of their local surroundings. Our nursery at Hampstead Garden Suburb is located in the leafy surrounds of Lyttelton Park, and families are lucky to walk through the park each day to get to nursery. This connects them with nature, the changing seasons. The benefits of a good walk can be seen in everyone, even through the coldest, wettest or snowiest days, children tend to arrive with a smile on their face.

“We find that children share lots of their experiences from walking to nursery; they often bring branches and flowers from their trip, they speak about what they see, and often tell us what they have enjoyed about their walk. “

We love nothing more than seeing our children arrive on foot, scooter, or buggy board. Fresh air is such a great tonic at the start and end of a school day, for parents, carers and children alike.

All this combined means that families are developing healthy lifelong habits, with the added benefit of reducing congestion at the school gates.

Walking to school helps families develop healthy lifelong habits, with the added benefit of reducing traffic and congestion at the school gates.”

Article sponsored by Keren ben Ezra, founder of Ofsted Outstanding Chain, Keren’s Nursery in Holland Park, Belsize Park and Hampstead Garden Suburb. Read more posts by Keren’s Nursery. Call to book your tour.

Picture Credit: Kiddimoto