Friday was the first day of a new initiative at Cowles Montessori School: the Walking School Bus. Get a gaggle of students dropped off at a depot, in this case Windsor Heights Presbyterian Church several blocks south of the school, to walk to school escorted by adult volunteers.
The idea is multipurpose.
It’s an opportunity for children to learn important pedestrian safety skills, reduce congestion around the campus (an extra plus right now at Cowles where construction is underway on an addition to the school), and children who participate reap the benefits of the physical exercise.
It’s all good, right? In theory, yes, but the Friday morning weather forecast of possible thunderstorms was not. The leaden sky suggested they might even be imminent. Principal Todd Johnson was there, and so were Windsor Heights city council member Michael Loffredo and Jenny Weber from Wellmark. But only one of the first batch of student volunteers who’d signed up showed up. Luckily she has the makings of a real trailblazer.
Kindergartener Corinne Fisher was raring to go in her bright purple jacket, backpack and shoes that made for a sharp contrast with the neon “hi-vis” vests sported by her entourage. And she took the conspicuousness of being the only child among a squad of grownups pretty well in stride. But a girl has limits.
“That’s enough adults,” she said upon Weber’s arrival, “where are the kids?”
There will be more to come. For the maiden voyage, Corinne got to stroll to school like a VIP celeb surrounded by her very own entourage. For the record, nary a drop of rain fell to spoil the occasion.
“We plan to do this every Monday, Wednesday and Friday morning until the end of the school year,” said Principal Johnson.
So, Cowles kids, follow your leader – Kindergartener Corinne!