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Walking School Bus

Regular physical activity over your lifetime protects against cancer. Given the low proportion of children meeting recommended physical activity guidelines in Ontario, there is a need for programs that support youth and their families to be more active.

Developing healthy childhood habits at an early age has been shown to have long-term health benefits. Walking to school can lead to increased physical activity in the community outside of school and build life-long healthy physical active habits.

The Walking School Bus program supports schools and communities to set up and run their own Walking School Bus program by providing tools and resources to schools to develop procedures, recruit and train volunteer walk leaders, increase awareness and promote daily physical activity.

Please contact us at:

wsb@ontario.cancer.ca

We are currently recruiting volunteer Walk Leaders for the Waterloo Regional Walking School Bus. If you are interested in getting involved, please register below.

Volunteer Registration

  • About the program

    The Walking School Bus is an organized system of walking with school children from home to school and back. Students in the same geographic area walk to school together under the supervision of an adult volunteer. Like a regular school bus, the Walking School Bus follows a planned and safe route with scheduled stops. Parents and other volunteers receive training and support to develop and implement the program and to supervise children walking to school.

    With support from the Ontario Trillium Foundation, the Canadian Cancer Society’s Walking School Bus program is being offered in the Waterloo, Wellington and Dufferin regions of Ontario.

    Regional partners include the Waterloo Region Student Transportation Services, the Waterloo Region Block Parent program, and the Region of Waterloo Active and Safe Routes to School program.

    Additional program benefits include reduced traffic congestion around schools, improved air quality due to reduced greenhouse gas emissions, enhanced neighbourhood safety and a greater sense of community.

    For information about the program in Quebec, "Trottibus", click here.

    For more information, contact us at:

    wsb@ontario.cancer.ca

  • Program components and resources

    Participating schools receive training, resources and support from the Canadian Cancer Society to implement the Walking School Bus and to ensure it becomes a fully integrated and ongoing school/community program.

    Steps to create a Walking School Bus program:

    1. Conduct a readiness assessment to determine child and parent interest in establishing a WSB in their school.
    2. Form a Walking School Bus committee of parents/community volunteers, and school representative(s) who will
    • plan and coordinate their WSB program
    • recruit volunteers
    • promote program in local community
    • determine the walk routes
    • support route leader training and student registration
    • celebrate ‘walk to school’ weeks/days and program successes
    • ensure sustainability of committee
    1. Canadian Cancer Society staff will provide training to the committee on all aspects of the program and provide resources and guidance in its implementation.
    2. Partner organizations can also lend assistance in areas where they have expertise. For example, Student Transportation Services will assist with route planning and mapping.
    3. Parents and other community members who volunteer as Walk Leaders will receive training to supervise children on the walk to school. They will also receive walk materials such as safety vests, and signs.
    4. Many Walking School Bus programs operate in the fall and spring however some schools elect to operate year-round.

    Interested in starting a Walking School Bus program at your school, contact us at wsb@ontario.cancer.ca.

  • Benefits of walking to school

    Developing healthy childhood habits at an early age has been shown to have long-term health benefits. Walking to school can lead to increased physical activity in the community outside of school and build life-long healthy physical active habits.

    When walking to school children will experience immediate benefits of increased physical activity and become more aware of active travel as an enjoyable mode of transportation. 

    By walking through their community to school, children will also become more familiar with their surroundings and learn road safety skills, improving the confidence and ability to be more physically active in other aspects of their everyday lives.

    Benefits to the school and the community:

    • include reduced traffic congestion around schools,
    • improved air quality due to reduced greenhouse gas emissions,
    • enhanced neighbourhood safety
    • greater sense of community
  • Practice SunSense on your walk to school

    Sun safety facts

    For more information about sun safety planning in your school, visit cancer.ca/sunsense

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