Before You Ask Too Many Serious Questions, Have You Tried to...
Q. What’s a School Loop?
A school loop is a way of moving through a neighbourhood. Each loop gives an identity to a routes that doesn’t already have a names. Easy-to-recognize signs easily followed by a person of any age help families explore and get things done.
Q. What’s the purpose of the School Loops project?
Created in an emergency, but based on pure joy, School Loops wants to help all of us get outside more often. They help some people get from A to B, usually on some kind of bicycle, usually to school, but they are so much more. A resource for teachers. A way finding tool. One step on the path to a bright future. You set the limits.
Q. Why the animals? Why the colours? What does it all mean???
Combinations of colours and animal symbol make each School Loop unique and easy to recognize. Animals get chosen because they (kinda) look like the shape of the route. In the same way that some constellations look like bears, or, er, big dipper or ladels or spoons, or, um, all of the above.
You sure can! This is for you. Take your class outside. Tell your student’s parents about it. Go exploring. Here are ideas for activities you can do with your class.
Q. I am a parent, how should my kids use this?
Tell them about it. Go with them. You decide. Kids can also thrive when offered independence. Biking or walking to school is important for a million reason like mental health, alertness, social development, bone development, we’ll spare you all the science (believe us there’s lots)..but let’s just say that (and we know you know this, we remember walking 8 miles uphill in a blizzard too) life outside is fun…and important. You might find that School Loops help you plan part of your child’s route tp school. You might find you have time for one more coffee in the morning if you let them go. You might find that, if you spread the word or ask around, and groups of friends are starting to follow the way together. You can even use Loops to plan a bicycle school bus or group walk. It can help you feel better just knowing where they are. It can make things more fun and feel safer for everyone. It just might change your neighbourhood. Once they are at school, School Loops are something for teachers to use and provide a reason to get outside and explore the neighbourhood as a class.
Also because COVID-19 ruined a lot of things, and we’re coming for you.
Q. How many schools are in a loop?
Usually a couple schools to a dozen. School Loops try to connect a group of schools to each other inside a neighbourhood without being too big.
See an issue? Log it.
Got an idea? Share it.
Inspired? Lead it.
Q. Hey, I noticed some words I don’t understand on the signs. What languages are those?
Signs in a landscape are a great reason to do something special. We don’t take it lightly. We embedded something important related to Indigenous languages. All of them are worth spreading,
This project started in Winnipeg, so each if its signs are translated into Cree, Ojibwe, French and Dakota. Naturally.
You can do this too. No matter where you are. Take a bit of time to find all the words for colours and animals near you. You won’t regret it.
Q. My neighbourhood/city/country doesn’t have a School Loop. Can I make a School Loop?
You bet. Here are some tips and tricks and handy free resources that are all yours to steal. A graphic designer really helps. Printing is up to you.
Q. Woah, wait. Each school loop kinda looks like the animal on the sign, like constellations or something. Is that on purpose?
Magic right? That helps you remember where you are, as in “hmm I think I am on the wombat’s ear but I swear I was just on the tail, I must have turned left at the right leg” or something. Mostly its for fun. Make a map and see what happens.
Q. What can I expect from my loop?
Most of the Loops try to highlight at least some good ways. They include those little ‘sneak through’ ways of getting through your neighbourhood. They go from one school to another in a usually sort of straight way, usually on streets and paths with less cars around. They’ll end up showing you some of the streets and trails that only some people know about.
Q. Is this inspired by that nasty pandemic?
Yes. But the world has always needed better ways for kids to feel like their world belongs to them. This is one way to heal.
Q. Are School Loops only for bikes?
If you’ve followed the signs, you’ve probably found the one near you works for skateboarding, wheelchairs, hiking, roller skates… You might even see someone on one of those things that looks like a skateboard but it only has one wheel and the person is just sort of standing there looking like a genius fueled by what 3 dozen NASA-trained experts took 8 months to determine must be powered by a rare form of “elf magic” before giving up and deciding to work on something less complicated like sending probes to Venus. And sure, someone will probably make a canoe portaging loop from one school to another and we’re cool with that…jealous, but cool. Also yeah, someone will inevitably circumvent the carefully crafted rules we put in place and rename their loop Loopy McLoopsterson with a sign that says jetpacks only and an arrow pointing straight up as though life easy one big joke and OK we are bracing for that and have already cried just a little inside whispering quietly to ourselves “let it go, let it go” but its the internet after all.
We can take it.
Ride. Slide. Walk. Roll. Shuffle. Boogie. You do you.
But yes, this is mostly for bikes. Which are cool. Test of time cool. Pandemic cool. One odeal and…woosh. That will always be cool.
Glad you asked. Yes. We suggest you start by drawing out the map for one. It’s pretty easy. Try using MyMaps.com. Google made it and they tested it out out on chimpanzees who promptly drew a new country around SubSaharan Africa and called it “Chimpanzia LOL” which freaked even the Google people out. You’ll figure it out.
You can read a bit more about how to do some of the technical stuff and get some signs made up here.
Q. I am making a loop but I really badly want a new animal that hasn’t been designed yet, can you make me one?
Like a wombat or a stink bug or a kangaroo? Sure, mate. Tell us what you need. We’ll tell the eager artists do their best right away.
Q. How do I get School Loops signs made?
Check this out.
Where are YOUR sweet jumps.
Q. Why isn’t my street on a School Loop? I am sad.
Don’t be sad. If every house was on a school loop it would be a world map and that’s not very useful, is it? Gotta start somewhere. Here is a tissue.
Q. Can I make a detour?
Not sure. We’re flying by the seats of our pants over here.
There are no guarantees in life, kid. Buckle up. It is not always the fastest way, or the perfect way – yet – but it’s a way. Its probably best to get out and explore one near you.
Q. Why am I still reading this FAQ?
Life is too short not to waste time on the internet and you know it.