School supplies, new sneakers and a fresh haircut are some of the back-to-school rituals for families.
And as students head back to classes this fall, another good idea for families is to make a plan for how children can be active during their daily trip to and from school. Walking or cycling are two great ways for students to get their bodies moving and prepare themselves for a busy day of learning.
Research suggests children who are more physically active do better in school. Exercise not only spikes brain activity and prepares students for mental stresses, it also increases the retention of new information and helps students to better react to complex situations. Just a single session of moderate exercise before school has been shown to benefit brain function and academic performance in children, while also producing healthy consequences in terms of mental health.
Walking or cycling is also a great way for students to learn responsibility. Parents and educators know learning is enhanced by practice. With rehearsal, education and planning, the trip to school can be one way your child builds independence.
Here are some tips to prepare yourself and your child:
- Plan the route your child will take to school. A neighbourhood map for your school is available on the Saskatoon Public Schools website;
- Rehearse the route by walking it together and continue to rehearse until you both feel comfortable;
- Along your walk, identify any safety hazards, as well as safe places for your child to go if they need help;
- Still unsure about your child walking independently? Contact other parents in your community to see if they have kids who walk to school in order to create a walking group.
Visit saskatoonpublicschools.ca/movetogrow for more information, neighbourhood maps and safety tips for students who are walking or cycling to school.
Const. Lori Halter of the Saskatoon Police Service shares some safe cycling tips with students and parents.