For a growing number of children in Rhode Island, Iowa and other states, the school day starts and ends in the same way: They walk with their classmates and an adult volunteer to and from school. “Walking school buses” are catching on in school districts nationwide because they are seen as a way to fight childhood obesity, improve attendance rates and ensure that kids get to school safely.

Rosanyily Laurenz, 10, signed up for the Providence walking school bus this school year. Before, she said, she was sometimes late to school when her grandmother didn’t feel well enough to walk with her.

But now “I get to walk with my friends,” Rosanyily said. “Plus, I get snacks.”