THE CLASSROOMS of Caherline National School were surprisingly quiet last Wednesday morning because children and teachers had put their pedals to the mettle.
The school re-launched their Green Schools travel by linking up with County Limerick Local Sports Partnership, Cycling Pursuits and local Gardai for a 6.5km school cycle as part of European mobility week 2011.
Mary Oâ€™Dea, Green Schools co-ordinator at Caherline, said around 50 children from third to sixth class took part.
â€œGetting kids on their bikes and the importance of fitness was the focus of it. All the children completed it which was great. They were complemented by the team because they said that isnâ€™t always the case.
â€œGarda Michael Tynan and Garda Kieran Lees from Caherconlish went ahead of us in a squad car and controlled all the traffic at junctions so we felt very safe. It took about 45 minutes and some parents took part too,â€ said Ms Oâ€™Dea, who added that the local gardai also gave a talk on cycling safety.
This is their second year in the Green-Schools travel programme where, after spending a year promoting walking and improving the infrastructure around the school, they are now looking at cycling as a possible option for the school journey.
Walk on Wednesdays (WOW) were an important starting point for the school where they achieved phenomenal participation since they started in September 2010.
Principal, Joan Oâ€™Reilly, who along with Ms Oâ€™Dea and Lisa Riordan took part in the cycle, said over two thirds of the school â€˜park and strideâ€™ to school with their parents on WOW days.
With the success of the WOWs it became evident that cycling could also be an option with some parents now getting up extra early to cycle their children to school.
Caherline put their name down with the County Limerick Local Sports Partnership, who run these events in schools, and their goal of getting their fourth Green Flag is well on course.
Ellen Oâ€™Sullivan, Green-Schools travel officer with An Taisce, said creating links with the wider community is an important factor in the success of the Green-Schools Travel theme.
â€œLinking with other groups in this way created a safe opportunity for the children to explore their locality and further the message that walking and cycling are viable travel options which are good for your health and the environment,â€ said Ms Oâ€™Sullivan.
Last March new road markings were put in place to warn motorists and reduce speed to make it safer for children.