Walking School Bus to ensure safe, enjoyable route for kids

Channel NewsAsia 6 Feb 13;

SINGAPORE: Some pre-school children will be walking to and from school, in what's called the Walking School Bus.

They'll take a safe and enjoyable route, accompanied by adults.

The walk can be an informal affair or a structured arrangement with meeting points, a timetable and a schedule.

Children from PCF Tanjong Pagar-Tiong Bahru in Kim Tian Road are the first to try out the Walking School Bus - a free service by the Health Promotion Board (HPB) to get children to be physically active for up to three hours a day.

Walking School Buses are also practised in the United Kingdom, Europe, North America, Australia and New Zealand.

Walking can also help to save money, especially for those who use public transport when the pre-school centre is one or two bus stops away.

Pre-schools can apply to HPB for funding to organise their own Walking School Bus and activities that promote good health.

Besides walking, a series of fun dance routines with pre-school themes will be developed.

The first routine is ready and will be available on DVD to all childcare centres and kindergartens as well as parents.

These fun dance routines can be integrated into curriculum time to improve music and movement skills, or into subjects such as mathematics or numeracy to make lesson time more lively.

Over the next two years, HPB and KK Women's and Children's Hospital will jointly develop more fun dance routines.

Nihardh M Zackariya, mother of a pre-schooler, said: "It's good for the children to encourage extra activities because normally most of the time they stay home and watch TV, so it's better for them."

CEO of HPB Ang Hak Seng said: "The Walking School Bus is also a platform for bonding between the teachers and the parents and the school. But not only that, it's also a chance for children to appreciate the community. Appreciate, for example, in this instance here, there are rambutan trees!"

- CNA/ck