JEFFERSON CITY - One step at a time, students at more than 30 schools in Missouri are focusing on the healthy benefits of walking to school.
Oct. 5 is International Walk to School Day, and students across the state have activities planned. October is Walk to School Month.
"We've encouraged schools to not only have special activities on Oct. 5 but also throughout the entire month," said Safe Routes to School Coordinator Jeff Cremer. "Our hope is that a month-long focus on walking to school will encourage parents and communities to establish ongoing walking and cycling programs."
One of the most popular program activities is called the walking school bus. Groups of children walk designated routes to school under adult supervision, picking up kids along the way just like a bus. For some neighborhoods it's a casual group walk, while others set up a formal plan with adults scheduled to walk on certain days. Families who live farther from school can drive part of the way and join the walk along the designated route.
The Missouri Department of Transportation oversees the Safe Routes to School program which provides children in grades K-8 with education, training and infrastructure for bicycling and walking to school safely. The program is designed to provide public awareness and outreach to encourage walking and bicycling to school, instead of riding in cars and buses.
To find out more about Walk to School Day in Missouri and see who's walking in your community, visit http://www.walktoschool.org/who/seestate.cfm?st=MO.
For more information on Safe Routes to School, visit http://www.modot.org/safety/SafeRoutestoSchool.htm.