Did you know, according to paediatric occupational therapist Angela Hanscom, that “kids should spend a minimum of three hours a day running, playing and just plain being a kid outside”?
While it is not always easy getting children outdoors, one of the best ways to do this is to get them to walk or ride a bike to school.
In Langwarrin, there are three schools along Warrandyte Road called Elisabeth Murdoch College, Langwarrin Primary School and St. Jude’s Primary school.
During school pick up and drop off times, traffic can get extremely heavy, and Langwarrin residents have taken to their Facebook group, Langwarrin Locals, saying that if more students walked to school, the problem would be reduced.
Joy Norris posted, “walking to the car or walking to school could do kids some good”.
Joy is not the only local who supports the idea of kids getting themselves to and from school.
Juzzy Bell and her 11-year-old son live a twenty-minute walk from his school, St. Jude’s.
While she always encourages him to get outside, Juzzy said she has always felt the walk was just a bit far.
However, because he will be entering high-school next year she wants to give him more freedom.
“This is definitely the year where we’ve said we want him to be able to walk, and he agrees. He wants to be more independent”, Juzzy said.
Sally Beveridge, another resident, has lived in Langwarrin for ten years and has seen the traffic increase every year along Warrandyte Road.
When asked about suggestions on how to encourage children to get outside more, Sally said, “it’s probably a bit left field, but I think it’s the attitude of the adults”.
She went on to say that she believes a lot of parents have a negative attitude towards bike riding and walking.
“Then their kids hear that and it’s a bit discouraging”, Sally claims, “if parents had a more positive attitude towards exercise then it would encourage their kids to do the same thing”.
Every October, VicHealth promotes walking and riding bikes to school.
The website says that not only does it have health benefits, “it reduces traffic congestion, saves on parking, and even saves the environment!”
For the Langwarrin area, if more children were encouraged to walk and ride to school, it not only benefits their health and wellbeing, but also benefits the locals in Langwarrin by reducing the number of cars travelling along Warrandyte Road on a daily basis.
NOTE: This is a 400-word news article I wrote for my university unit Local Journalism