Good Habits from the Start of September
An Taisce’s Green-Schools Travel programme is asking families in County Leitrim to rethink their commute to school this academic year. Following the summer holidays, when families had opportunities to enjoy outdoor activities together, Green-Schools Travel is encouraging parents to keep up those good habits by choosing to cycle or walk all or part of the way to school with their children from the onset of this new school term.
Each year the programme works with primary and secondary schools in County Leitrim to encourage walking, cycling and scooting to school along with options such as Park ‘n’ Stride, carpooling and using public transport.
“The school journey is the perfect opportunity to include regular active travel trips into our busy lives to benefit our health and wellbeing” said Green-Schools Travel Education Officer Imelda Ryan-Jones “as it’s a journey we made five days a week each week during term time. Children need to learn their road skills so it’s also a great opportunity for parents to walk and talk about these important lessons en route to school & for teenagers in secondary school to walk and socialise with their friends on their way to school too.”
This year Annaduff NS, Carrigallen NS, Scoil Naomh Brighid NS, St Brigids NS Drumkeerin, St Josephs NS in Leitrim Village, St Patricks NS Drumshanbo will join Carrick Boys NS (now part of Scoil Mhuire NS in CarrickonShannon) and Fatima NS in Cloone to work with Imelda on the Green-Schools Travel theme. Imelda’s colleague Lisa McDaniel also works with schools on the Travel theme and Creevelea NS and St Joseph’s NS in Dromahair are starting their second year of promoting active travel trips.
On Wednesday, May 14th this year, at least 42,258 students – the highest number yet! – walked to school as part of National Walk to School Week’s WOW Day (Walk on Wednesday/Weekdays) and in June at least 7,000 students cycled to school as part for National COW Day (Cycle on Wednesday/Weekdays), which takes place each year during Bike Week. Earlier this year Green-Schools introduced SOW Days (Scoot on Wednesday/Weekdays) and celebrated the first National SOW Day in March. To date, over 1500 primary and secondary schools countrywide have taken part or are taking part in the Green-Schools Travel programme.
Earlier this year when schools from Co Leitrim attended the Green-Schools Award Ceremony in May they heard a story about a little girl from Co Sligo who is learning to walk all by herself, even though she has cerebral palsy. “The schools in Leitrim would love to get involved in a County initiative to help Cara, who is 7 years old and a real inspiration to us all” said Carmel Coll of Leitrim County Council “so Imelda and I will be chatting with the schools working on the Travel theme to see if we can hatch a plan for this academic year as Cara is so determined to make her dream happen.”
So let’s get out of our seats and use our feet to walk all or part of the way to school in September and get into good habits from the start of the new term.
National WOW girl Cara Tighe with Travel Education Officer Imelda Ryan-Jones and the Green-Schools National Walk to School Mascot