The Day Willetton Primary Walked Safely to School

Tracey Wilkinson

The morning of Friday 19 May, 2017 began with heavy rain, dark grey clouds and a chilling wind. Undeterred, more than 210 smiling and active kids braved the elements; walking to school, sheltered by bright umbrellas and guided safely across streets by busier than usual cross-walk attendants. On arrival their tummies were filled with scrumptious banana bread and healthy fruit and it was all mixed up in a delightfully engaged school community at Willetton Primary School.

Walk to School Day 2017 marked the beginning of an initiative at Willetton Primary to encourage our families to leave the keys at home and walk, scoot or ride their way to school. Children were provided a short questionnaire to complete which, we hope, broadened their thoughts whilst on their journey. Such as “Did you see a Safety House on your walk to school?” Fortunately the questionnaire could be answered on any day during the week 15 to 19 May as, admittedly, completing a questionnaire whilst battling to keep your umbrella from becoming air-borne and the questionnaire itself from becoming a papier-mache project was highly challenging!

One amazing family surpassed them all and made their way to the Channel 9 studios in the CBD for a 7am live appearance promoting the school’s Walk to School event, and even made it back in time to appear in a Walk to School Day themed assembly performance at 9am! With their bodies hidden behind screens and only feet and legs on show, donned in brightly coloured, mis-matched and zealously decorated shoes and socks, Area 12 entertained (slightly soggy) school friends and families with self-choreographed dance moves to “500 Miles” by the Proclaimers, “These Shoes Were Made for Walking” by Nancy Sinatra and a rousing “YMCA” from The Village People causing spontaneous audience-participation! Perhaps the combination of lungs filled with fresh air, a rewarding breakfast of banana bread, a spot raffle and hair whipped into a frenzy by stormy winds explains the energy and good-vibes of the day? A big thank you to you all, plus City of Canning for the Small Community grant that went towards supplying our walkers with a healthy breakfast, Your Move for the shoe pets used as raffle prizes and Willetton IGA for the delicious fresh fruit.

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Apologies for the crazy photos! I could NOT get them orientated correctly!

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Wow, sounds like a really fun morning full of good vibes and good cheer! Wish we could have seen the crazy dancing. What a great community event involving the local council, local businesses and the entire school community. Are you considering running a more regular weekly or monthly event such as "Toesday Tuesday" or "Fume Free Friday" to encourage active travel choices on an ongoing basis? We look forward to hearing about your future events.

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Thanks Jenny! I really should have videoed it! It was so much fun and a great way to get the active transport message out! We have just put a plan together for the rest of the year and we are going to try the Fume-free Friday. I will post again about our plans soon. Thanks!

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What an amazing, inspiring and very well written story ( well it was a teacher writing it I guess!). It sounded like a really fun day, even got it on channel 9? Wow!

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