Parent with child

To round off our International Walk To School Month we want to share ways that parents (and children!) bring the Walk to School to life.

Here our engagement manager, Aisha, shares a photo story sent in my Selma Montford, MBE - a mum from Brighton.

 

Aisha Hannibal

When I first started walking with two of my children to their primary school, Balfour Road School in Brighton, we played this game: every day we noticed something we had not seen before on our previous walks to school

We called our game ‘To Balfour and Back'.

When my children were very small, they particular enjoyed the surfaces of the walls we passed.

It was something that that young children could touch and explore with their fingers, even when wrapped in gloves.

This photograph shows just a few of the different textures we saw in just one street: trees, stones large and small, pebbles, a mixture of materials on one wall.

 

textures
spy holes

The children also loved looking through ‘spy holes’ in walls to the ‘secret’ gardens, which they could not see otherwise.

Only a few houses had these, but the spy holes came in a range of shapes.

 

numbers

As they grew older, they could start to read the numbers on houses.

Even houses next door to each other can have very different styles of numbering.

It was good to teach the children the different shapes of numbers.

They particularly liked the one with a bird painted on a panel.

And as they grew taller as well as older, they could start to see new things.

We could now look over the walls that contained those 'spy holes,' and we could also appreciate new parts of the wall, such as differing tops to the pillars on the paths up to the house...

 

pillars

By this age, the children were able to appreciate that things were different not just from neighbouring houses, but from all other houses on our walk. 

For example, two houses had four identical front doors in a row, all in different colours...

doors

The secret is not just to look up, but also to look down.

In this short walk, we also had many different styles of pavement.

While I was still taking them to school, the local council put in special paving for partially sighted people, which started a whole new set of games with the children as they learnt to explore the textures through their feet...

floors

My children told their teachers about our game, and I ended up giving a talk at a parents’ evening at the school.

Afterwards one of the parents, a doctor, came up to me to say he was most interested in my game, as he thought that it taught children to be observant about their surroundings and perhaps to analyse why one example of a particular material was most interesting or even practical.

 

This game is not only good fun. It also teaches children, and perhaps adults too, to be observant and to analyse why one object is more interesting than another.

I have played this game with older students too. And because they are taller than the pupils at Balfour Road school, they noticed quite different things and again adults also noticed different things.

My grown-up son recently went on an experience called Street Wizard, where you are tasked to walk around the streets, looking for patterns and experiences, and using them to explore how you feel about different topics.

He phoned me immediately afterwards to tell me that now even adults are playing the game we’d had played when they were children.

Related links

Walk to School

Strider and children


WOW, our year-round walk to school challenge, plus more.

Walk to School

Our policy

Car parks


What Living Streets is calling for.

Walk to school

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Mother and son


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