Chris Callaghan, author of The Great Chocoplot and dad to Trinity, writes about the power of the walk to school and why he would urge anyone to give it a go this Walk to School Week.
I’ve always been a massive believer in the ‘Walk to School’ ethos. Walking to work helped me be much more prepared and ready to start the day and I wanted the same for my daughter so, when the time came for her to start school, we moved house specifically so that she’d be able to walk. I’ve walked with her ever since and loved it.
I expected the walk to offer the usual benefits: a chance to blow away the cobwebs, financial savings of leaving the car at home, that sort of thing. The time we’ve got to spend together has been the biggest bonus though. I like the aimlessness of it all. Free from any other distractions we really get to speak with each other. I find out what’s happening at school, she gets the chance to ask me (sometimes challenging) questions about the world and we chat about stories and crazy characters.
It was actually thanks to these conversations that I started to write ideas down for a book. This developed into The Great Chocoplot, my first children’s book, which was published this year. Walking has been a great way to get those creative juices flowing and it’s the same for Trinity too. She’s told me that walking wakes her up and gives her more energy for the school day, especially compared to her driven school friends who, according to Trinity, always seem more tired.
We regularly pass people on our way who are putting their children into the car to get them to the same school, despite living closer than we do. I understand that families have other commitments and time pressures but I would often see them driving back to their house when I walked home from dropping Trinity off. It’s sad; they’re missing out on valuable time with their little ones.
Trinity starts secondary school in September. I’m really going to miss walking with her but everything we’ve gained – a strong relationship, a healthy habit for life (not to mention a published book!) – will continue to benefit us for many years to come.
I like getting up for school on a morning because I know that I’m going to spend time with my dad on the way. During the day I am looking forward to the end of school because I know I am going to get to talk to him on our way home. It has always been my favourite part of the day.