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Physical activity and environment emphasized at Einstein's Walk to School Day
Students, parents and siblings arriving on campus were greeted by PTSA members handing out bracelets to participants and as they made their way closer to the building, City of Redmond Mayor John Marchione was on hand to welcome them to school.
“Walking or biking to school creates an opportunity to be outdoors and provides time for children to connect with parents, friends and neighbors,” Marchione said. “What better way is there to get to know your neighbors than by walking kids to school?”
The event was organized by the Einstein PTSA with Alissa MacDonald and Ingrid Munck in charge.
MacDonald said Walk to School Day is always in October, and this year, to encourage more students to participate, they added a classroom contest with the class with the most walkers receiving a treat.
Marchione said walking to school also gives kids time for physical activity.
And many of the kids arriving at school Wednesday morning shared their enthusiasm for the opportunity.
“We love to exercise!” one student exclaimed as she walked by the mayor on her way to class.
Renee Bibeault, who walked to school with her 9-year-old son Avery, said Walk to School Day is a great way to raise awareness on the importance of physical activity. She said they can’t always walk to school because her work schedule cuts it too close, but they were able to make it out on Wednesday.
Einstein principal Melissa Pointer said it can be a bit challenging for them to get families out walking because the school’s boundaries range from one mile on some sides to two or three miles on other sides. In addition, some of the routes to school are along more rural roads with no sidewalks, so walking is not always safe.
To address this issue, some families drove to the PCC Natural Markets located a little less than a half mile east of the school and walked from there.
In addition to promoting physical activity, Pointer said Walk to School Day also promotes ways to protect the environment. She said with more people walking to school, there are fewer cars on the road, adding that walking to school also allows people to be more conscious of how their daily routines may affect the environment around them.
Einstein has a very active green team of students who create programs and activities throughout the school to protect the environment such as composting food waste, Pointer said.
She added that part of the campus is a wildlife refuge and teachers use an onsite outdoor habitat as teaching space. A garden has also been started at Einstein and students are learning how to grow and produce their own food.
Pointer said Walk to School Day fits in nicely with all of their green efforts and teachers incorporated an educational component by discussing the environmental impacts of cars during class time on Wednesday.
Also on hand at Einstein Wednesday morning was the Redmond Police Department (RPD).
Police vehicles were parked on both sides of the school’s entrance along Northeast 116th Street with lights flashing. Alex Chavykin of the department’s traffic division said the police presence was to remind drivers of the school zone and make sure the walkers are safe.
“We’re present in here,” he said. “We care about their safety.”
Pointer said the RPD will also be coming into the classrooms throughout the year to talk to students about various topics including walking safety.