THE students of Coore National School this week took part in the last of their walks to school as part of their Green Schools Travel Initiative, Walk on Wednesday (WOW).
They have been completing the walk every Wednesday since returning to school after the Easter holidays, and Green Schools Co-Ordinator Dolores Montgomery says that the initiative has been very well supported by parents.
They take turns on a rota system at different crossroads on the walk to warn oncoming traffic that students are on the road.
The walk is a mile long, running from the local church to the school itself.
The aim of the initiative, besides promoting sustainable travel, was as much to help the children become aware of the locality as well as give them a healthy physical activity to look forward to weekly.
Ms Montgomery said: “Simple activities gave them a great awareness of the area; counting the cars, the houses we pass. We worked with maps to help the students see the area in that way, and we did procedural writing; as part of that the students would write the directions from the church to the school.”
The curriculum was also integrated with the walk for the younger classes, with activities organised such as drawing the route for Junior and Senior infants.
The school also took part in National Walk to School Week, from May 24 to 28, during which they persisted with the walk for every day that the weather allowed.
Because of Covid restrictions, each class group stays together on the walk, in single file with their teachers.
The walks have been sponsored by An Taisce, who provided the students with their high visibility vests.
Ms Montgomery continued: “We have found that the students come into school much more refreshed and alert after their walk. Locals are used to it on the roads now too, they know we are out walking.
“It has given the students a better general appreciation for the area, and it’s great for their fitness as well.”
She added that the Walk on Wednesday initiative has been a great way to bring the whole school closer together in a safe environment out in the fresh air; due to the pandemic, much of the interaction between classes has been limited otherwise.
Ms Montgomery remarked that no students have passed through this stressful year studying from home without feeling the pressures that come with it, and the activity in the mornings does wonders in the way of mindfulness.
The school will also be taking other actions in conjunction with the Green Schools going forward, to promote sustainable travel options and they give a special thanks to all the parents who have shown unshakeable commitment thus far.
by Conor Clohessy