Building on the success of a “Walking School Bus” event that was held last spring, a coalition of community partners is planning a second event today. Children who attend Park Avenue Elementary School, parents and volunteers will gather at 7:30am at City Hall to make the approximately one-mile walk to the school, picking up other children at stops along the way.
Children who participate will each receive a pedometer. This is a rain or shine event.
Walking School Buses are being promoted across the country as an innovative way to incorporate more exercise into the daily life of school children, and to address chronic absenteeism.
More than 150 children participated last Spring, along with parents, guardians and school staff.
The Walking School Bus is co-sponsored by the Coalition for Healthy Kids, Danbury Public Schools and United Way of Western Connecticut. Today's event will kick off what will become an ongoing Walking School Bus at Park Avenue School as part of Strong Start Neighborhood Initiative.
Funding from The Grossman Family Foundation is allowing United Way to work with school staff and parents to make the Walking School Bus part of the regular life of the school. United Way CEO Kim Morgan says the children were so excited last year and the parents and school staff were very supportive. The Walking School Bus will be coordinated through a Parent Outreach Worker, funded through the Neighborhood Initiative. The initiative provides support and funding for playgroups, workshops, and other activities that promote school readiness and success in the early elementary grades.
Park Avenue School Principal David Krafick says when more children walk to school they arrive in the classroom energized and ready to learn. He added that Park Avenue School's neighborhood setting makes it the perfect place to pilot an ongoing Walking School Bus.