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PostPosted: Thu Feb 04, 2010 7:18 pm 
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DD is in year 5 and is talking about walking to school soon. I'ts only 10 or so minutes away from home and across two roads. There's one dodgy under a railway bridge bit, but unless it was dark I wouldn't necessarily worry about this. I know I need to let go soon and not assume some wierdo's going to jump out or she's going to get run-over but it's crossed my mind.

When did your DD / DS begin to walk to school, the shops or to friends houses? And how - if at all did - you 'manage' it?

Thanks


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PostPosted: Thu Feb 04, 2010 7:22 pm 
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Location: Chelmsford and pleased
Mine walked to school in y2 and 3 in France as it is normal there. Do you send DD with a phone? How lonely is the walk?


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PostPosted: Thu Feb 04, 2010 7:33 pm 
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No not a lonely walk Moved, and I feel silly when i hear about French children walking to school at age 7 or 8 that I'm even mentioning a correct age to walk to school. I walked to school from year 2 myself as a child - it was 'normal' then. But in one generation it has become abnormal for a year 5 child to walk to school in Britain. Almost no year 5 children at our school walk to school alone or with friends yet.

But I understand from all reports that children are in no more danger now than they were 50 years ago from strangers but the perception danger is is very acute. That reminds me, a Dad was on breakfast news on Wednesday who has made a concerted effort to let his child go to the park by himself at an early age because he feels we over protect our children from perceived attacks to suit ourselves.....But the road danger must be worse as there are so many more cars on the road.

Anyway. What do you guys think?


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PostPosted: Thu Feb 04, 2010 7:50 pm 
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Location: london
I think it depends on the walk in itself...particularly the roads etc but...generally I would say that in 18 months time your DC is going to be going on their own to school (possibly on public transport?) and it would be better to manage things 'gradually' rather than suddenly...which means starting now...

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PostPosted: Thu Feb 04, 2010 8:54 pm 
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Location: essex
We moved to Chelmsford from London during the middle of the school year. My youngest two were given a place in one school and my year 6 daughter a place in a school in a different direction. She had been relatively sheltered until then and suddenly had a 25minute walk alone across a strange town as I could not be in two places at once. She took to it like a duck to water and thoroughly enjoyed the sudden responsibility. We used to go and met her on the journey home and I could soon tell she found this a bit irritating. I would certainly not have considered this unless I had too but we had no option . For the first few weeks I phoned the school everyday at 9am to check she had arrived safely, they where very polite but I could sense the raised eyebrows in the school office.

My youngest began begging to walk to school alone in year 5...15 min walk, one nasty road. I was reluctant until the day I was due a visit from a washing machine repair man ( I know my priorities ) and had to send him off alone. As he arrived intact he insisted on doing it again. I started on 2 days a week and had gradually let him walk to and from school alone everyday by the summer term. I still get anxious if he is not home by 3.50 but I think it is very important to show your children you trust them. It is traffic that terrifies me , not strangers in macs although this may be a little naive.

I have a friend planning on sending her child to the other side of the county for secondary school and he has yet to even go to the park with friends without her following behind. That is going to be one large shock to both in September.

The only downside of it all is that I miss hugely the school gate experience so once a week go up in the afternoon just to catch up with friends. My son ignores me and walks home with his friends a different way.


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PostPosted: Thu Feb 04, 2010 9:03 pm 
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My daughter , year 6 has been walking the 15 mins journey to school with no problems at all, similar distance, roads etc and no one batted an eye.
My advice is you know the roads and you know the child.Very soon they will be in secondary and have soo many other things to adjust to that , I feel, better they have learned some independence.


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PostPosted: Thu Feb 04, 2010 9:08 pm 
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For both my DC we started in the summer term of year 5 so it was light when they first started and they chose one day a week to walk home alone. We gradually built it up; to begin with I would meet them half way, then just the last bit (it was just under 2 miles to school) and so on so that by the end of year 6 they were walking to and from school alone most days.

We had a strict rule that they had to come straight home, no stopping off to play football etc! If they kept to the rule then they knew they would be rewarded by greater freedom in time but if they broke this we would go back to having to wait for me to collect them from school. By the summer holidays in year 6 each of my DC were independent around the village, walking to friends and the local shop etc.

I agree that it depends on the child and the journey but I found building up slowly helped both me and my DC adjust rather than having a big change at the start of year 7.


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PostPosted: Thu Feb 04, 2010 11:14 pm 
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If you're not ready for your dc to walk the whole way either to or from school, you could walk part way (say, seeing them safely across the road you fear) and then let them walk the rest of the way alone (and then meet them at the same spot on the return journey).

Once that's achieved and you're both happy with that, perhaps you could walk them up to the road and watch to see they cross on their own safely.

Of course, the final bit is to then let them walk the whole way alone!!

Similarly for trips 'into town' on the bus, find someone they can go with (who also needs to learn independence) and they can go together to give each other support.

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PostPosted: Fri Feb 05, 2010 1:01 am 
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Mine walked to school alone from the begining of year 4, but he only has 300 yards up a country lane to navigate. He also goes to local shop for me and has walked his dog alone in the woods since the end of year 5.

I understand that lots of year 7 and 8 children have road traffic accidents because they suddenly start walking to school without having gone through it at primary school (which is normally closer). They need to build up their skills gradually. I would observe at the road crossing initially though, parent lurking is a much underappreciated art!


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PostPosted: Fri Feb 05, 2010 9:21 am 
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Location: Buckinghamshire
Snowdrops wrote:
If you're not ready for your dc to walk the whole way either to or from school, you could walk part way (say, seeing them safely across the road you fear) and then let them walk the rest of the way alone (and then meet them at the same spot on the return journey).
This is how I did it with DS1 when he went into Y6 - the main road is only about 2mins from our house so he was doing most of the walk on his own and both of us were happy with the compromise. For the last term or so of Y6 he did the whole journey alone but as I walk DS2 to the same school I could check that he had actually arrived! From the beginnign of Y7 he has gone by himself on the school bus - he has instructions to ring if he is delayed so that I don't panic :oops:


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