GET ACTIVE AND GO GREEN – TRANSPORTATION PROGRAMMING AT SIR JAMES DOUGLAS ELEMENTARY SCHOOL
Sir James Douglas Elementary School (SJD) is dedicated to increasing participation in active transportation, as a way to reduce emissions and improve students’ overall physical and social/ emotional well-being.
Since 2017 the Active Transportation Committee, made up of parent volunteers, has worked closely with teachers and students at SJD to host 5 successful Walk and Wheel to School Weeks. The consistently high level of student and teacher involvement in these weeks is a strong indication that we are inspiring kids to get active and take action to address climate change. In addition to the participation numbers the impact of these weeks is also evident in overflowing bike racks and growing support from community partners like a local bike shop, a local bike club, the City of Victoria and the Capital Regional District.
Implementation of Transportation Programs
For one week each fall and spring, students and teachers are invited to engage in a range of programmed events aimed at building physical literacy, promoting active travel to and from school, and raising awareness about how to reduce GHG emissions through travel choices.
To date we have organized the following programs and initiatives that have served approximately 500 students:
• Bike Skills and Safety Courses
• Crossing Guards – making it safer for kids commuting on foot or by bike
• Superhero Bike Parade – facilitating a parade of bikers and walkers to school
• Education and Awareness Events – making active travel fun, developing healthy lifestyle habits, and raising awareness about reducing emissions through our travel choices
• School Street – closing a busy street in front of the school to all vehicle traffic, thus encouraging parents to park and walk, or walk or ride from home. We also host a street party on the last day to celebrate our success
• Bike Club – partnering with a local cycling club to organize a 8-week bike club for students
Each year we set an aggressive goal for active travel during Walk and Wheel to School Week. Since 2017 we have achieved great success with over 90% of students reporting that they used some form of active travel to get school.
In spring 2020 we will aim to achieve 100% active travel on the last day of Walk and Wheel to School Week. This goal is meant to inspire students to take action to improve their physical skills, build confidence and independence, and take action on Climate Change.
We will be hosting our third School Street, which will again, involve temporary closure of a congested street in front of the school. We are also planning to host another bike parade, as well as a number of fun events that help students experience the joys and rewards of travelling on foot or by bike. These events may include bike decorating and making smoothies on a bike with a blender. We are hoping to work with students and teachers on an initiative to track school-wide reductions in GHG emissions, and students will again, be encouraged to join the bike club for more bike adventures and skills training.
In partnership with students, teachers and parents we are working hard cultivate a culture of active travel and environmental stewardship at SJD. Through activities, events and education we hope to foster a positive lifestyle choices that contribute to a cleaner and greener environment.