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Jay Kassirer Ottawa April 30, 2020

Do you know any good examples of emotion-rich messages that promote walking and cycling to school, that are directed at students’ parents, and that are not judgmental, fear based or otherwise heavy-handed? (I know, your school buildings may be closed now because of COVID-19; we are planning for after ours re-open.) We are looking for messages for parents who currently drive their children to school most of the time and might be described as being at the Pre-Contemplation and Contemplation stages of change (according to Stages of Change Theory.) We are interested in a wide range of examples AND we are particularly interested in messages like the following. • Walking or cycling with your children to school, or encouraging them to do it on their own if they are able, is one way of being a loving, caring and responsible parent. (Many parents in the greater Toronto area currently think that driving their children to school is more loving, caring and responsible). • If you live close enough to school, walking or cycling with your children to school or encouraging them to do it on their own if they are able, can lead to a smoother, more enjoyable morning routine. • Walking or cycling with your children to school can help them and you avoid the craziness of drop-off and pick-up zones. • Any other messaging that’s been particularly effective.

Please note if there is any evidence of effectiveness (e.g. through message pre-testing or program evaluation). This information is being sought by a province-wide (Ontario, Canada) coalition of school programs that promotes walking and cycling to school using a School Travel Planning framework. They want to encourage more parents / guardians to support their children walking and cycling to school. I will compile the answers from a number of listservs and Linked-In groups and will share the compilation with all who contribute to it.