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Thousands get active for 'Active Autumn'

Contributor:
Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media

Over 4000 young people from 10 Selwyn schools will be getting active on their way to school for the second annual ‘Active Autumn’.

Selwyn District Council’s Road Safety team are running the active transport campaign for schools in term two. Ten schools covering over 4000 learners have registered this year.

Active transport is using an active mode of transport such as walking, skating, biking or scooting to get to and from school.

School Road Safety Coordinator Stephanie Hautler says there are many physical and mental benefits to active transport, which are being encouraged with Active Autumn.

"Children develop increased road safety awareness, decision making and risk assessment skills. It takes practice to develop skills such as being able to judge the speed of a moving vehicle, or how big a gap is needed to cross a busy road safely," she says.

Gaining these life skills as a child is an important step towards gaining independence and it helps with learning, she says.

"Studies have found that children who are active are not only physically fitter but can concentrate for longer in class."

Active transport also helps people build better relationships and friendships, not only for children, but parents too, which contributes to a safer, more connected community.

"Skipping the car ride also means less noise, less congestion, less visual pollution and cleaner air. Burning less fuel saves money too," Ms Hautler says.

During May, Selwyn schools participating in the campaign are provided with Active Autumn packs to educate families about active transport. One of the activities children can take part in is the W.o.W challenge, where children can get a card stamped each time they walk or wheel to or from school. Completed cards will go in the draw to win an MGP scooter and helmet, plus heaps of spot prizes.

A colouring competition is also being held, with children challenged to develop their own road safety message with prizes of new helmets.

Active travel can be a challenge to fit into an already busy day. Below are some ideas that you may be able to utilise to get your child active:

Park and stride - drop your child a short distance from school instead of at the gate. Scout out a location where they can safely walk to the kea crossing or school entrance without crossing any major roads or entranceways. Make this your safe meet point for after school pick up too.

Pick a route and get to know it - find a route that minimises the number of roads to be crossed and avoids busy intersections, and get to know it together. Point out hazards such as blind corners and discuss where to cross.

Find some buddies - you may be able to take turns with other parents escorting a small group to school. Better yet, organise a walking school bus or scooter train. Talk to your school about how to set up a walking school bus.

Check out selwyn.govt.nz for more information about Active Autumn.

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