News release from Aberdeenshire Council:
Aberdeenshire Council has teamed up with Living Streets – the UK charity for everyday walking – to encourage more families to walk to school and promote active daily journeys as part of WOW, the Walk to School Challenge.
WOW is an award-winning behavioural change scheme currently adopted in 14 primary schools in Aberdeenshire and more than 200 schools across Scotland.
Pupils log their daily journeys to school using an online Travel Tracker and those who travel actively at least once a week are rewarded at the end of each month with a unique badge made from recycled yoghurt pots and designed by pupils from across the UK.
On average, schools participating in WOW see a 23 percent increase in active journeys to school and a corresponding drop in car use, reducing congestion outside the school gates and increasing pupil safety.
The programme is supported by Aberdeenshire Council and funded by the Scottish Government’s Smarter Choices, Smarter Places grant.
New Machar Primary School is the latest school in Aberdeenshire to join WOW and to celebrate, the Living Streets mascot ‘Strider’ welcomed pupils as they arrived at school on Tuesday (Jan 25).
Strider also met with the new WOW Ambassadors – pupils who will support their teachers in promoting active journeys and offer encouragement to their fellow pupils.
New Machar headteacher Brian Carle said: “We are delighted to be participating in the WOW Walk to School Challenge and I know our pupils are eager to start making more active travel journeys in the weeks and months to come.”
Joanna Stewart, strategy development officer at Aberdeenshire Council, added: “We continue to work closely with Living Streets to implement the WOW scheme across the region and I am delighted to see New Macher getting involved. The programme continues to enable many families to make that change in the school runs, swapping the car for more active and sustainable modes of transport.”
Chris Thompson, project manager for schools at Living Streets explained: “Walking to school is an easy and accessible way for children to incorporate physical activity into their daily lives, helping them arrive fit, refreshed and ready to learn. Walking to school is also a great way for children to learn vital road safety skills and build lifelong healthy habits.”