Berryville Primary School will be joining schools from around the world to celebrate International Walk to School Day on Wednesday October 5th. Approximately 220 students from Berryville Primary are expected to be walking and riding bicycles to school along with parents, teachers and community leaders.
Walk to School events work to create safer routes for walking and bicycling and emphasize the importance of issues such as increasing physical activity among children, pedestrian safety, traffic congestion, concern for the environment and building connections between families, schools and the broader community.
The international event began in 1997, when the Partnership for a Walkable America sponsored the first National Walk Our Children to School Day in Chicago. By the year 2002, children, parents, teachers and community leaders in all 50 states joined nearly 3 million walkers around the world to celebrate what had grown into the International Walk to School Day. This year the event is expected to be celebrated at over 3,500 events at participating schools in the U.S. and will be joined by children and adults in 40 countries around the world.
Safety is a key aspect of the event. Every year, about 25,000 child pedestrians are injured in motor vehicle accidents. These types of accidents can be significantly reduced by teaching children pedestrian and bicycle skills. In Berryville the event is sponsored by the town police and includes specific efforts to teach safety. Chief Neal White said, “We hold an assembly at the Primary School where we go over walking safety with the students which is also incorporated into their lesson plan for the entire week of the event.”
While students do walk to the middle school in town, this event focuses on the elementary school students. “Johnson Williams already has a fair number of walkers but our plan is to try to educate the little ones about pedestrian safety,” said Chief White.
Drivers are reminded to be particularly careful Wednesday. Watch for additional pedestrians and bicyclists that day and help Berryville celebrate a safe and successful International Walk to School Day.