Education

Students get help to ride to school

By Alex Gretgrix

The Victorian Government is inspiring the next generation of youngsters to get on their bikes, skateboards and scooters by extending the popular Ride2School program for the next two years.

Minister for Tourism, Sport and Major Events Martin Pakula recently announced the Ride2School platinum school was one of hundreds around the state that would benefit from the $1.4 million boost.

Bourchier Street Primary School principal Denise Howley said the school participates in the program annually.

“We promote Ride2School Day every year where we encourage families to patriciate and celebrate their achievements, no matter if they have ridden around the block or all the way from home,” Ms Howley said.

Since 2006, Ride2School has encouraged hundreds of thousands of students to ride and walk to school regularly.

Last year alone, more than 900 schools across Victoria took part in Ride2School Day – almost 370,000 students getting on their bike to boost their physical activity levels on the day.

Ms Howley said a fit and healthy lifestyle encourages a healthy mind set for learning in the classroom.

“Our student leadership program meet the participants at the front gate with fruit and something to drink so they are ready to start the school day on a positive note,” Ms Howley said.

Studies show one in four children are not getting enough exercise – an early ride or walk to school is a great way to ensure students are energised and ready to start learning from the first bell.

Mr Pakula said the boost would open the program to more than 200 additional Victorian schools, allowing them to make submissions for funding to support inspirational ideas that encourage regular active participation by students.

“Getting healthy and active at a young age is important so the message is clear – get on your bike or scooter, team up with a mate and enjoy your ride to school," he said.

The program will support a range of initiatives from building bike-parking facilities including bike sheds to identifying safe routes to and from school.

Schools participating in the program have more than double the national average of students walking and riding to school – 40 per cent versus 20 per cent.

“An early-morning bike ride goes a long way to boosting energy, health and concentration in the classroom," Mr Pakula said.

The Ride2School program also promotes the importance of bicycle safety – wearing helmets and being aware of other users of roads and footpaths.

For more information about Ride2School, visit bicyclenetwork.com.au