Wednesday, May 4, 2011

The Walking School Bus

Today was the first day of the Aseh Chayil Walking School Bus. Thanks to a genius idea by Nutritionist and Efrat Resident Tamar Schreiger children from the Zayit and Dekel can join the "walking" school bus every Wednesday morning and take a fun healthy shpatzir to school.
This morning 100 children walked along with Efrat's Mayor Oded Revivi, sport teacher Sinai Atik, Tamar Schreiger and the volunteer parents who "drove" along the kids.
Tamar told me that she got the idea for the walk to school from the Torah's command, 'ushmartem es nafshoseichem' (and you should guard your soul). We learn from here that a person has to take care of him body, as well. "And one of the ways to do that is to exercise and eat right. Exercise strengthens the muscles and bones. And it's much easier to exercise when it's built into your schedule. That's why the morning walk to school is such a perfect idea."

Children who walk to school reinforce a healthier attitude in their friends as well as their families. They socialize as they stroll, and they set a good example for neighbors who see them beginning their day with a nice walk.
"We also had a lot of fun, because the kids were with their friends, and they were calling out to other friends all along the way. One boy that was passing in a car with his mother, even jumped out to join us," Tamar said.
The kids enjoyed the walk, as did the adults. Aseh Chayil parent Avi Abelow said that this Walking School Bus will change Efrat's attitude toward health and exercise for the better.

Tamar reminded anyone who'd like to participate next week that they must bring generous amounts of water along, because it's hot out there.
A solution also has to be found for the notoriously heavy backpacks that small children in Israel often carry.
Tamar said that next Wednesday morning, children will begin their walk at the Zayit grocery store at 7:15 AM, wait for the Heftziba children to join them, and then continue along Zait Shemen.
Tamar noted that the children were very disciplined this morning, and never crossed unless a parent crossed with them.
Children are urged to arrive on time. I popped up to the Zayit at 7:18 AM and found a group of girls and another group of boys waiting for some adults to escort them to school. Little did we know that they had "missed the bus" by about three minutes.
Kids and parents will have to be more careful next week, and the Walking School Bus will be even more successful, IY"H.
Here's to a healthy mind and a healthy body for all our children.

Join the children on the Walking School Bus for their first trip. Click on this video:


  1. I had read about the idea.
    I have no doubt that walking to and from school was good for my kids' future health. Nowadays there are such traffic jams near the school. Last Succot I started walking from Tel Shiloh to my house with my older grandchildren and told them that their Uncle Gannie had walked the distance (a kilometer and a half-full mile-straight uphill) when he was less than 3 years old (being a November baby) to come home from gan. They understood but couldn't believe it.

    They were extremely relieved when someone gave us a ride most of the way.

  2. May I suggest that 2-3 parents volunteer to ride alongside in cars, into which the kids can deposit their backpacks? Also that way there is an alternative for kids who overheat.

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