I’ve been working with Fernwood Montessori for almost 6 years now through our Safe Routes to School program. They have been big supporters of the mission and hosted us for education programs, both our Walking Wisdom and Bicycle Driver’s Ed courses had been taught to just about every single one of the 750 students. They’ve celebrated many Walk and Bike to School Days, both in Fall, Winter, and Spring. I remember counting over 175 bikes locked up outside one warm day in May Bike to School Day a couple years ago. I’ve done Youth Engagement programs including basic mechanic classes with students and safe and fun after school rides. They’ve also done Encouragement programs like Fire Up your Feet and won money to buy more bike racks to handle the increases in number of kids biking to school we achieved. The elusive Walking School Bus was always talked about but until this Fall we weren’t able to launch one. With the help of some amazing parent volunteers, Chris and Doris, we jumped that hurdle this week.
A few notes on steps to success:
– We worked with the Principal to obtain data on where families lived in the 1/2 mile walk-able radius of the school.
– I made a survey and sent it to all those families in our target area to gauge interest and ask for volunteers.
– Gathered responses and met with Parents who were interested in leading.
– Used school Facebook group and the Parent Coordinator position to help disseminate information to parents.
– Trained Parents on safety, purchased safety vests and orange hats for visibility and recognition.
– Made a map and route that reduces the amount of street crossings and sign up forms for other parents to join in.
The Walking Bus will operate every Wednesday from today until end of the school year. Barring thunderstorms or below 0 temps they plan to walk together each week! The biggest hope is that once they get going other families will join and we can add routes form other directions as well.
For Parents At Fernwood there are sign up sheets by the office. Please fill them out and return to me or Parent Coordinator Jenni.
For info on starting a Walking School Bus at your school check out these links.