Walking is healthy and climate friendly and besides, less traffic makes the way to school more secure for pupils and students. The project “walking works” was initiated by the NGO “die umweltberatung” in 2006 in the province of lower Austria and is focusing on children in the last year of the kindergarten. Children learn how to manage their future way to school by WALKING. The aim is to motivate young children to walk because this trains their future behaviour on one hand and on the other hand children act as role models for their parents.
On their way to school pupils learn about nature and environment, they come in contact with others and become more self-reliant. Less traffic is climate friendly and makes the way to school saver for all. An important aim of this project is to train kindergarten teacher and enable them to foster safe and joyful walks to school.
This project was awarded in 2007 with the UNSCO price for “UN decades projects” (Education for sustainable development) and since then received further awards.
Aims of this project in general:
* reduction of traffic around schools and on the ways to schools
* informing parents about health benefits and safety concerning WALKING to school
* promote fun of motion, joy of walking
* information and games around the topic “on the move”
The project starts in the kindergarten and is based on movement-workshops for children. The topics “walking” and “movement” are treated in game-based and child-friendly activities. Workshops for parents including safety training and expert lectures about relevant environmental topics are offered in order to sensitize adults and support parents to support their children.
An essential part of this project is the professional development for kindergarten teachers organized by “die umweltberatung” (Eco counselling) in cooperation with the local governmental authority.
Aims of the professional training for kindergarten teacher:
* presentation of an holistic approach concerning the topic „walking to school“
* practical support to implement this topic in a child-friendly manner
* information and training on how to work with parents
* support for kindergarten teacher to organise this project in the future
The project is organised annually by the NGO “die umweltberatung” in cooperation with the "Energie- und Umweltagentur Niederösterreich” to train kindergarten teacher in order to enable them to promote save walks to school.