Encouraging Students to Walk

Sarah Adams

We have been reflecting on different ways that our school encourages active transport, starting with promoting walking.

Our HOPE Department (Health, Outdoor and Physical Education) offers students some wonderful opportunities to be active and effectively promote student use of active transport. In Term 3 the annual Cross Country event was held which promotes students getting outdoors and to either walk or run the course. Our whole Year 7 cohort participate along with competitors from Year 8 through to 12. At our end of Term 3 assembly the students who have excelled are celebrated with our whole school community. Of course this is complemented by our separate House Athletics Carnival each year. By offering the opportunities such as the Cross Country event each year, our HOPE Team is giving students a great opportunity to be outdoors and promotes them viewing themselves as their own vehicle!

Not all of our walking events are competitive, though. We’re very lucky at Kalamunda Senior High School to be located near some amazing walking tracks, none as well-known perhaps as the Bibbulmun Track. The Northern Terminus is just a few kilometres from our campus in the Kalamunda Town Centre. There is a long-established tradition at KSHS that when you’re in Year 8, you take on the Bibbulmun Challenge. This is a student-focused adaptation of the Bibbumun (it’s over 1000km long!) and a valuable team-building exercise experienced with your mentor class. All students, along with their new mentor teachers assigned at the beginning of Year 8, take part in the challenge which is approximately 10km long. They tackle kilometre after kilometre through the beautiful bushland reserve and undertake some small team focused activities along the way. The Bibbulmun Challenge presents a really wonderful opportunity to improve student wellbeing, enjoy the fresh air and build relationships. It also allows us to promote active travel, demonstrating to students just how enjoyable and achievable walking is as their preferred method of travel from A to B. Around our local area there are a number of routes available to students walking to school such as the Kalamunda Heritage Trail. Our local council also provides a great list of bush walks that are nearby which we are planning to include in a planned information pack for students about active transport.

Below are some photos from students enjoying the Bibbulmun Challenge, an accomplishment celebrated with the whole school community annually on our Kalamunda Day.
When on the track, students take photos in teams (with the ethos of take only memories, leave only footprints), images not showing student faces have been selected.

In 2020 we are planning to celebrate ‘Walk Safely to School Day’ in May and will run a campaign via our daily notices in the lead up to the event to encourage students to find a friend and walk together to school.

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James (Your Move)

In the past you have mentioned that the large catchment of the school presents some issues for encouraging Active Travel. This story illustrates the flip side of that - i.e that your bush setting presents opportunities like the Bibbleman Challenge you have outlined here. Well done for making the link to Active Travel and earning 25 Your Move activity points. I have also given you a bonus 10 points for the amount of detail you put into this story.

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