Students pound the pavement for National Walk Safely to School Day

JUNIOR School pupils at St Mary’s College took National Walk Safely to School Day (WSTSD) in their stride on Friday 19 May.

Now in its 18th year, the national awareness-raising day is aimed at teaching primary school-aged children the importance of pedestrian safety and the benefits of regular exercise.

This year, parents and carers in the St Mary’s College community were encouraged to join children and their teachers bright and early as they took to the streets to take part in a ‘Walk Safely’ double block walk event.

After working up a serious appetite, the year one to six students gathered on the College green to enjoy a healthy fruit break, before returning to the classroom for a productive day of learning.

With only 19 per cent of Australian five to 17-year-olds reportedly meeting the national physical activity guidelines (which recommend 60-minutes of heart pumping physical activity per day), St Mary’s College Director of Junior School Brigid Knight said it had never been more important to make walking part of the everyday routine.

“As St Mary’s is an inner-city school, a number of our students are unable to walk to school, so we thought we would simulate the experience by completing a double block walk around the school perimeter,” she said.

“This walk was supported by discussions in classrooms around safety guidelines for pedestrians.”

Mrs Knight said WSTSD endeavoured to promote and inform parents, carers, teachers and children of the significant physical, mental and social health benefits that can be achieved through regular walking.

“As a Move Well, Eat Well school, physical activity and good nutrition are part of our everyday program,” she said.

“For our older students and in response to a veritable epidemic of pedestrians using mobile devices when walking, we also highlighted some of the dangers of this practice.”

WSTSD is a national initiative run by the Pedestrian Council of Australia.

For more information about National Walk Safely to School Day, visit walk.com.au

Caption: From left, Molly Brown, Maya Bearman, Sophia Agnos and Harriet Nattey, all in year two at St Mary’s College, participating in National Walk Safely to School Day on Friday 19 May.

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