Byron Bay Public School kindy teacher Tracey Barnes, with Iliana Gelagotis, 5, (front left) and Ralph Hoult, 5, participating in the National Walk Safely to School Day.
Byron Bay Public School kindy teacher Tracey Barnes, with Iliana Gelagotis, 5, (front left) and Ralph Hoult, 5, participating in the National Walk Safely to School Day. DAVID NIELSEN

Walking safely to school

SCHOOL kids from Byron Bay Public School will be joining thousands of kids around Australia by walking to school today.

National Walk Safely to School Day is a community event encouraging primary school children to walk to school.

The annual event encourages healthy living in kids, road safety and helps to encourage families to break away from car dependency.

More than 8500 students across the country are expected to participate in the event.

Byron Bay Public School relieving assistant principal for kindergarten Tracey Barnes said the day was a great way to encourage adults as well as kids.

“If we can get the kids involved in a day like this then we can get the parents involved too,” she said.

“During the first year at school we focus on how you get to school and how you get on the bus so this is a bigger way of learning that.

“We have lots of kids walking from school to sport and activities that are within walking distance from school so it is an important thing for us as a school to incorporate.”

The Australian National Children’s Nutrition and Physical Activity Survey 2007 found 17 per cent of children aged 6-12 years were overweight and six per cent were obese.

The study also found childhood obesity in Australia is rising at one per cent per year, meaning by 2025 half of the young population will be overweight.

Walk Safely to School Day also encourages kids to be environmentally aware and encourages parents to teach children these concepts at a young age in hope they will stick throughout their life.

Ms Barnes believes beautiful surroundings should be enjoyed and walking around is one way to do it.

“Its all about being green and clean,” she said.

“Forget the car, forget the school bus and walk to dancing or school instead.

“If it’s a beautiful day and if you live in a place like Byron Bay then people should enjoy it.”



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