Braden River Elementary participates in National Walk and Bike to School Day in Manatee County.
Lilly and Brady Colcu’s mom, Bridget, normally drives her children to school each morning.
But on Oct. 2, they switched up their routine. Instead of being dropped off in the car-rider line at Braden River Elementary, Bridget Colcu parked in the Summerfield neighborhood and the trio walked through a winding, wooded path to campus during National Walk and Bike to School Day.
“It was fun. We had to go through a path, and we saw a big hawk,” said 8-year-old Brady, a third-grader. “I like to be outside.”
His 5-year-old sister liked walking the “wiggly path,” as well.
More than 400 of the approximate 600 children enrolled at Braden River Elementary participated.
Physical education teacher Penny Stilson said children have spent the last two weeks learning about pedestrian and bicycle safety and rules of the road during their physical education classes through lessons and games. For example, they looked at a model skull and brain to learn why helmets were important for protecting their heads, and they played “protect the pedestrian,” during which they rolled dodge balls at “pedestrians” and practiced safe street crossing activities.
Stilson said the day is the final step in an important safety education campaign.
“We’ve learned it. Now we need to do it,” said Stilson, who organizes the annual event with fellow instructor, Eric Boso. “For elementary children, that’s the best way to do it.”
Stilson said sponsors of the event were Safe Routes of Florida, which provided literature on pedestrian and bicycle safety, and All Children’s Hospital, which provided educational materials.