How to Organize a Walking School Bus

A Walking School Bus (WSB) is a simple strategy to reduce the number of cars traveling to and from school and provide families with an option of a safe and active trip for the school journey. Volunteer parents act as Walking School Bus leaders, possibly taking a shift or two per week. As WSB leaders, they walk a designated route at a scheduled time for the trip to and from school, picking up or dropping off children along the way.

Walking school buses help families share in the daily responsibility of transporting children to and from school. A walking school bus provides an opportunity to establish stronger relationships with other families in the neighbourhood and can help to reduce the volume of traffic at the school. Children develop friendships, learn and practice traffic safety skills, and enjoy active transportation daily. The key to organizing a successful Walking School Bus is flexibility, responsibility, and open communication between families.

Starting simple can be important in building momentum for a program that will be successful in the long term. With a few phone calls to friends you can start an informal walking bus in your own neighbourhood. It may be best to begin with one or two neighbourhood groups before initiating a larger school wide program. Alternatively, you may choose to coordinate a more ambitious project in your community, initiating Walking School Buses from different neighbourhoods within the school catchment area.

A Walking School Bus group, regardless of whether it is formal or informal, must establish a safe route, provide appropriate adult supervision and include pedestrian safety education for the WSB leaders and children involved.

Main organizational elements:

Step-by-step guide to organizing Walking School Buses in your school neighbourhood

Other organizational details:

 

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