RYE, N.Y. (WCBS 880) — Parents in Rye are getting schoolchildren to enjoy the outdoors with a new twist.

Rather than hopping in a car and being driven to school hundreds of kids have formed Walking School Buses.

“They love it,” Maureen Gomez, one of the organizers, said. “It’s great exercise and by the time they get here I think they are set and more prepared to learn.”

A group of parents began planning a district-wide Walking School Bus program last fall and successfully launched the initiative last month. About 200 kids have now joined 21 official Walking School Buses.

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“It’s good because it helps the environment from all that pollution and it makes our bones stronger and healthy,” 7-year-old Aiden explained.

The program is part of a Safe Routes To School initiative that is focused on getting children to and from school safely. Each group of students is led by one or more adults.

Walking school buses help the kids get some exercise and also loosens up traffic on the roads. Gomez said the students get to school faster by walking than they do by getting driven.

“The kids love it and I think that’s why the parents have decided to do this,” organizer Helen Gates said. “They found that when their kids get into a walking school bus program they’re the ones who are driving it. The parents are the ones who want to hop in the car for convenience sake but the kids love the opportunity to walk, talk to their friends and just get their energy going.”

The Walking School Bus Committee has also worked to help develop routes for Midland and Osborn children.

What do you think of the program? Let us know below…

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