Pupils at Bishopmill Primary School in Moray were joined by a special guest last week (27 August) to launch a year-round national campaign to encourage children to walk to school.
Over 40,000 pupils in 250 primary schools across Scotland will join Bishopmill Primary School in taking part in WOW – the year-round walk to school challenge from Living Streets Scotland, the charity for everyday walking.
WOW rewards children who walk to school at least once a week with a collectable badge each month, with ten to collect across the academic year.
Children arrive at school and log their journeys on the WOW Travel Tracker. This allows the school to see which pupils have earned a badge and monitor walking rates across the year.
WOW schools see on average a 13 per cent increase in pupils walking to school in Scotland with a corresponding drop in car use; reducing congestion outside the school gates, improving air quality and increasing safety.
Living Streets promotes walking to school as an easy and accessible way for children to incorporate physical activity into their daily lives, helping them arrive fit, refreshed and ready to learn. Walking to school is also a great way for children to learn vital road safety skills and build lifelong healthy habits.
Strider, the Living Streets mascot, joined children for a celebration to kick off the year of active travel in a special assembly.
Stuart Hay, Director, Living Streets Scotland, said:
“WOW is simple to run and pupils love to take part. Just a few minutes of a teacher’s day is all it takes to make a big difference.
“We see a lot of dedication and enthusiasm from pupils and staff across Scotland and are thrilled that so many schools are taking part. We’re looking forward to families getting on their feet this year and experiencing the many benefits walking to school can bring to our health and happiness.”
Madeline McCutcheon, Head Teacher at Bishopmill Primary, Moray said
“Bishopmill Primary is proud to be launching the WOW programme for this academic year. Our pupils have been using the interactive Travel Tracker for years now and they love having the opportunity to log their journeys each morning as they arrive at school in a fun, engaging and easy way.
“The vast majority of our pupils arrive at school on foot, by scooter or by bike and the monthly badge rewards of WOW help to keep it that way.”
The WOW badges are designed by pupils in Living Streets’ annual badge design competition. This year’s WOW challenge reflects the seasons that pupils will be walking through on their journeys to and from school. Starting in autumn, they’ll see a harvest, bonfire night and seasonal fare before moving on to winter wear, snowy scenes and the best of our British nature.