Children, parents, carers and staff from Footsteps Nursery in Hove are leading the way in encouraging active and sustainable travel around the city.
The nursery, in Cromwell Road, has become the first nursery in the country to be awarded Silver accreditation in the national Modeshift STARS awards. The nursery is now working towards the Gold award.
Modeshift STARS is a national awards scheme which recognises schools and early years settings that have demonstrated excellence in supporting cycling, walking and other forms of sustainable travel.
Working with Brighton and Hove City Council’s school travel team, the nursery has achieved the award for its work to encourage children, parents and staff to explore safe and healthy ways to travel around the city. This work has included:
Joining in Walking Week
Creating a ‘5 Minute Walking Zone map’ for parents, carers and staff, asking them to walk at least the last 5 minutes to nursery when possible
Taking the children for walks in the local environment and actively discussing road safety, and taking the younger children on specially designed Buggy Walks
Doing Scooter Training and Pedestrian Skills Training with the children to help them develop their road safety skills from an early age
Having a Fire Engine come to visit the children and the fire crew discussing road safety and their job role with the children
Visiting the local bus station and talking to bus drivers, and taking nursery trips by bus, for example to Brighton Museum
Talking with the children in Group time throughout the day about the health benefits of active travel
Taking part in National Road Safety Week in November
The nursery has also written an Active Travel Policy based on their mission statement and philosophy around active and sustainable travel.
Councillor Gill Mitchell, chair of the environment, transport and sustainability committee, said: “I am proud and delighted that Footsteps Nursery has become the first nursery in the country to achieve a Silver Modeshift STARS Award, and would like to congratulate everyone involved.
“Walking, scooting or cycling to nursery, or parking away from nursery and walking the last 5 or 10 minutes, can contribute significantly to recommended activity levels, as well as helping to ease congestion around the city.”
Hannah Moss, Owner and Manager of Footsteps, said: “We are delighted to be the first nursery in the country to be accredited with Silver Modeshift STARS for our work supporting & promoting active, safe & sustainable travel.”
Brighton and Hove City Council’s School Travel Team is working with several other nurseries and early years settings to support them in achieving STARS accreditation.
Dr Katie Cuming, the council’s public health consultant, said: “Being physically active every day is important for the healthy growth and development of babies, toddlers and pre-schoolers.
“The great work being done by Footsteps, and by other early years settings across the city, encouraging more active travel to nursery, helps families achieve their recommended daily activity levels.”
The Footsteps nurseries in Hollingbury and Portslade have also recently submitted applications for Silver accreditation, and they will be hearing in May if they have been successful.
Other early years setting have also recently achieved their Bronze awards – Growing up Green Beaconsfield Villas, Growing up Green Preston Road, and Brighton Steiner School Early Years, along with Saltdean Primary School.
The STARS initiative is supported with funding from the Sustainable Travel Transition Year fund from the Department for Transport.