This month’s blog post comes from Brenda Vavroch who is an Iowa Safe Routes to School Coordinator in Waterloo.
Iowa Northland Region Council of Government Safe Routes to School (SRTS) program has gone virtual! With many schools limiting visitors inside their buildings, the program had to adapt. The goal is to help kids and families learn that walking and biking is not just recreational but a mode of transportation. A simple walk to school could save time and money over a typical single car commute. Also getting outside for the fresh air, exercise, and a chance to have (physically distance) social interactions with others can improve students’ moods, concentration levels and general well-being.
Irving Elementary School in Waterloo is helping to pilot the new virtual live lessons for all Kindergarten -3rd grade students. Classroom Teacher and presenter then team up and co-teach the lesson by helping with tech issues and guiding conversations. The basic SRTS lesson covers pedestrian safety, bicycle safety, bike helmet fitting, hand signals and takes about 40 minutes. Additional topics can be customized for each class. As the weather turns warmer a cycling skills course will be set up and students can practice riding bikes during PE class.
As part of the SRTS program the school will identify students in need of bike helmets and each will receive a new helmet upon course completion. We hope to see more students at Irving walking and rolling to school this spring and to create a healthy life-long habit!
Any school or youth development program can request information on SRTS programs. Teachers can choose virtual, in-person instruction or loaner DIY kits to fit their needs. Please contact Brenda Vavroch, firstname.lastname@example.org or (319)235-0311 to get you moving!