Decorated shoes put a new spin on walking to school

FANCY BOOTS: Alfredton Primary School pupils Cohen, Harley and Amelia get in to the spirit of VicHealth's Walk to School month with their brightly decorated walking shoes. Picture: Kate Healy

FANCY BOOTS: Alfredton Primary School pupils Cohen, Harley and Amelia get in to the spirit of VicHealth's Walk to School month with their brightly decorated walking shoes. Picture: Kate Healy

No one is going to miss Cohen, Harley and Amelia walking to school with their brightly decorated footwear.

The trio from Alfredton Primary School are among thousands across Ballarat and the state taking part in VicHealth Walk to School month.

While the focus is on walking to school all month, Alfredton Primary will next week have a special walk to school day where up to 350 children will meet at different points away from the school and walk together, with a teacher escort, to school for a special celebreation.

And for those who live too far away, there’s a walking club around the oval.

Foundation teacher Kaitlyn Dunstone said walking helped children build energy to start the school day.

“When they get in to the classroom they are energised and start the day well, not coming in sluggish, and they are very proud of themselves,” she said.

“And walking helps prevent congestion around school and make it safer because when you see more children walking, parents are more aware of children walking so road safety improves for parents and children.”

There are 14 Ballarat schools with about 4000 students taking part in Walk to School month.

Ballarat mayor Samantha McIntosh said it was important for young people in Ballarat to be fit and active, but walking to school could do even more.

“It’s a great opportunity for kids to walk with family and chat while they walk. It’s about that time for young people to spend with people they really care about … and it helps relieve congestion around school and lessen environmental damage,” she said.

Australian children are among the least active in the world, with 80 per cent not getting enough exercise according to VicHealth.

“Walking, riding or scooting to and from school every day helps students get some of the physical activity they need to be healthy,” said VicHealth chief executive Jerril Rechter.

“This year we have made Walk to School month even more appealing for students by encouraging them to decorate their shoes, bikes or scooters to show off on the way to school.”

“Active schools make for active learners. By encouraging students to take part, schools can help them build healthy habits for life,” she said.