Step 1: Introduce the ideaAsk the principal or PAC to send an email or newsletter introducing the Drive-to-five concept. In crafting your communications, think of your audience: an engaged parent community may respond to a letter home, while a more diverse audience might benefit from a multi-pronged approach, including information posters or an information/planning session held at the school.
Step 2: Find your spots and map the routesDetermine several Drive-to-five locations that are about a five-minute walk from the school, and are safe and convenient places for parents to park, or drop-off and pick-up their children. Then, map safe and accessible walking routes between each drop-off area and the school. Drive-to-five locations should:
- have ample room for safe drop-off or parking, or be close to a bus stop and transit route,
- provide access to families approaching the school from all directions,
- not inconvenience residents or local businesses, and
- be safe and comfortable: low traffic and well lit.
- how long the walk will take, and whether it is suitable for younger children, families with strollers or students using mobility aids;
- what types of obstacles you encounter – poor infrastructure, major crossings, railway tracks, etc. – and what could be done to overcome them;
- whether the route is suitable for a child walking independently or families walking together; and
- whether the route feels safe and comfortable, with good sightlines, adequate lighting, and an overall positive feeling.
- whether there are any planned improvements or upgrades scheduled that would address the obstacles; or
- if there is another route they can point you to that might avoid the obstacles you encountered.
Step 3. Let everyone knowSpread the word about the Drive-to-five program through as many channels as possible – there’s fun and safety in numbers. Some ideas include:
- creating posters to advertise the program at the school, or having a group of students design them and asking the school post them,
- making announcements over the PA or during assemblies, and
- getting students involved: work with them to develop skits and radio-plays, providing information and generating anticipation for Drive-to-five days.
Step 4. Put up Drive-to-five signsEither the night before or the morning of days that are being promoted as Drive-to-five days, put up the Drive-to-five signs at the mapped-out Drive-to-five locations. If you have students involved, encourage them to decorate the Drive-to-five locations with balloons, sidewalk chalk, etc.
Drive-to-five programs are effective during all seasons, as they allow students to incorporate short walks on well-lit routes on even the wettest, darkest days of the year. In terms of frequency, Drive-to-five programs are very flexible, ranging anywhere from monthly Drive-to-five days to families incorporating Drive-to-five locations into their daily trip to and from school.