St. Mary’s NS in Ashbourne, Co. Meath, has just begun work on the travel theme. The entire school has enthusiastically embraced the travel theme as they work towards their fourth flag. Being on the Green Schools committee is a coveted position at St. Mary’s. To get on the committee, interested pupils must prepare a manifesto, present it to his/her class and then be elected by the class.
St Mary’s NS had an all-school assembly in early October to introduce the travel theme and to discuss the launch of WOW. Each class was given a Walk Around Ireland poster and each pupil given a passport to keep track of kilometres walked. Classes were notified of an all-school competition to see which classes walk the most each month. WOW days were launched October 15th with great success and the school has witnessed a great reduction in the number of cars around the school gates.
As of December, just over two months after the launch of the theme, every class is eagerly filling in footsteps on their Walk Around Ireland poster as well as engaging in friendly classroom competitions for the Golden Boot.
In addition, Meath County Council provided St. Mary’s with a detailed map of the school and surrounding areas. Various routes to and from the school which students would be walking have been identified. To date, four walkability audits have been done around separate routes by 4th, 5th and 6th classes. The walkability audits help students gain an appreciation for the outdoor spaces surrounding their school as well as help identify any issues which would hinder walking to school.
At the start of the 2nd year on the Travel Theme, St. Mary’s applied for and received cycle parking. The whole school continues to participate in Walk Around Ireland and as an additional incentive, those who cycle to school get double the distance in their passport.