Simple Steps to Join the Global Active Travel Movement

International Walk to School Month – also known as IWALK or Walktober – is a global celebration of active school travel that takes place every October.  During IWALK, students are encouraged to walk or wheel to school and to participate in activities that promote active transportation. Events take place around the world, with high participation rates throughout Europe, the United States, and Canada.  

The movement started in 1997, when American active travel practitioners were inspired by programs in the United Kingdom and introduced the first “National Walk our Children to School Day”. With each passing year, more communities started participating in the event, and more countries became aware of it. By 2006, over 40 countries were participating in “Walk to School Day” celebrations. This widespread support motivated the International Walk to School Committee to establish October as “International Walk to School Month”. It has been widely celebrated ever since!  

IWALK is a global movement for active school travel, and we encourage you to be part of it! Here are some simple ways for classrooms and schools to participate in this year’s International Walk to School Month celebrations.  

1) Register for International Walk to School Month 

Sign up your classroom or school to mark your participation in the event. This will help us track how many schools are participating across Ontario and add to the global totals. The registration form is simple and quick to fill out – register today 

2) Organize a Walk to School Day  

A Walk to School Day event involves encouraging as many students as possible to walk (or wheel!) on a chosen date, such as International Walk to School Day that happens on the first Wednesday of the month (October 5, 2022). You can build excitement in advance with posters and announcements, and make it fun by having a theme and offering stickers, snacks, or other small giveaways for students.  

3) Explore the Neighbourhood with a Scavenger Hunt  

A scavenger hunt is a great way to explore the neighbourhood and make walking trips extra fun. Download and print copies of the I-SPY activity sheet, plan a route, grab pencils, and off the class goes! Teachers can incorporate this activity into geography and math lessons to teach about the built environment and plot graphs of the results. In addition to being used in a scavenger hunt, the activity sheet can be used by students on their walk to/from school.   

4) Enhance the Active Journey to School 

Walking and rolling to school is already fun, but simple enhancements can make IWALK month extra fun and special! Consider using sidewalk chalk and stencils to add some colour and excitement to students’ routes. Some creative ideas include animal footprints, hop-scotch, and dance zones, but the sky is the limit! Students can also create encouragement posters in art class with quotes like, “almost there!”, “thanks for walking to school!”, and “celebrate IWALK month!” to be put up along the school walking routes.  

5) Travel Across Canada with the On Your Feet Challenge 

Could your class or school walk across Canada this October? Sign up for the On Your Feet Challenge to be part of the Canadian Cancer Society’s active transportation journey. The goal is to walk, run, cycle, skate, wheel, or scoot the distance across Canada (6,000 kilometres!) as a collective between October 10-28, 2022. Many exciting prizes are also up for grabs!  

For more ideas on how to celebrate IWALK Month, we encourage you to read our Activity Ideas resource and explore the Ideas Lab 

Thank you for representing Canada in this global movement for active school travel!  

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