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North Vancouver school district parents asked to consider walking or rolling

August 23, 2016


North Vancouver school district is encouraging parents to consider walking or rolling to school. photo supplied

Deneka Michaud / Contributing writer, North Shore News

North Vancouver school district is encouraging parents to consider walking or rolling to school. photo supplied
As the new school year inches closer, community partners across North Vancouver are banding together to encourage families to get out of their cars and walk or roll to and from school.

“There are many powerful benefits of walking or rolling to school. Not only is there the physical fitness students receive, but also getting to school in an active way mentally prepares students to learn. In addition to these physical and mental health benefits, school communities are safer when students walk or roll to school. Less congestion around schools and fewer cars on the road in general equates to increased student safety. Community connections are fostered and strengthened as people walk and roll together. Not to mention that when parents are walking or rolling with their kids, it is valuable quality time together every day,” said Mark Pearmain, North Vancouver school district superintendent.

Traditionally, when back-to-school time arrives the messaging to parents about getting to and from school has been about driving safely in school zones. This information and communication to parents remains vital, but this year parents are being urged to not drive at all.

“We have added a new element to our back-to-school community outreach this year: educating parents about the benefits of walking or rolling to school instead of driving. It remains critical to remind drivers about school zone traffic safety, but a key element to helping keep school zones safe is getting vehicles off the road and students walking and rolling to school,” said Cpl. Richard De Jong, North Vancouver RCMP media relations officer.

To get the word out about the benefits of getting to school in active and safe ways, many community partners have come together to create resources and communication tools for families. A section has been added to the websites of every school in the North Vancouver school district that contains information and support for walking, rolling, public transit, carpooling and drive-to-five (driving to locations about a five-minute walk from school and walking in the rest of the way).

An information item has been added to many school agenda books for the upcoming school year and information cards will be available at all schools. New parents to the North Vancouver school district will also be provided with the information when they register their children for kindergarten.

“As a parent, I know time is a valuable commodity. I have learned that investing a little time now in teaching my children how to walk to and from school has paid off in the luxury of time for me because they are now able to walk independently. However, on the days when I do walk with them, I love the uninterrupted time to talk. I learn more about their lives within the 15-minute walk to school than in the hours between their return home from school and bed. Being with them as they mentally prepare for the day provides the best teaching opportunities and I feel like Super Mom. Start the year off on the right foot by walking or rolling to and from school. You will quickly discover the benefits to your children’s mental and physical well-being even if it is just a few blocks,” said Carol Sartor, Montroyal elementary Parent Advisory Council member, North Shore Safe Routes Advocate and employee of Hub for Active School Travel (HASTe). HASTe has been working in several elementary schools thanks to the support of the City of North Vancouver.

Deneka Michaud is the communications manager for North Vancouver School District.

This story originally appeared in a special Back to School section of the paper.

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Note: Resources and support for the Active and Safe Routes to School initiative are supported by the City of North Vancouver, District of North Vancouver, TransLink, TravelSmart, ICBC, North Vancouver RCMP, North Vancouver Parent Advisory Council, Vancouver Coastal Health, Safe Routes Advocates, HASTe, and the Heart and Stroke Foundation. More information can be found at