Walk To School

by kate on January 26, 2021

Do you let your child walk to school? Alone? I don’t but, in my defense, my girl is 4 so she’s not exactly developmentally ready. Not yet anyway. Though I’m not sure I would regardless.

I was listening to a preschool director give a talk about her school and she brought up a point that I found interesting. Not many, if any, of her school children ride their bikes or walk to school anymore. It’s too dangerous. And the school is in Sausalito, CA, so not exactly the ‘hood, if you know what I mean.

The interesting point wasn’t in the danger of it. She asked us parents if WE hadn’t made the streets more dangerous because WE weren’t using them anymore ourselves. We drive.

Now that’s a blanket statement to be sure. I walk when I can, wherever I can. Even if it’s far. But I drive, too.

It’s like air-conditioning making our neighborhoods more insulated. The doors shut, keeping the cool air in kept the neighbors from gabbing on their front stoops. While this might not be causal, it’s definitely correlated.

I’m wondering, do you think it’s possible to take back our streets? Would you walk more yourself in order to populate your neighborhood? Just thinking about more people on the street makes me wonder what effect that might have to local businesses and the economy, congestion and traffic, our health.

If I knew that many ‘safe’ caring neighbors were milling about, I’d let my kid walk places sometimes, when she’s older, and wise, like at age 30. No, seriously. I might. But I might not.

How ’bout you? Do you walk and use your streets?

photo credit: Pink Sherbet Photography

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  • Julie C.

    I don’t want to make this a big posting of it’s own, but I REALLY like what you are saying here. Did you catch Anderson Cooper’s guest who has been labelled “American’s Worst Mom” because she allowed her nine-year-old son to ride the subway by himself. During the daytime, with a phone. He’d been begging for the opportunity and after considering it, she agreed. But when she wrote about it, other moms jumped down her throat and were ready to tar and feather her.

    But didn’t so many of us grow up with that kind of freedom? Taking the bus, walking home, playing at the park — all unsupervised and only a few blocks from home.

    I love your observation that it happened because everybody did it, and there were always people around! Kids on bikes, men working on something in their garages or mowing the lawn, ladies gabbing on the sidewalk or front porches to escape the heat and check up on their kids every now and then. I miss that feeling of community, don’t you?

  • http://www.livingthescream.com Carly at living The Scream

    I have a 8 and a 6 yr old I do not let them walk to school. I think it is too far and not safe. Other parents do. Most of the kids that walk are older and some ride bikes as well. It’s a hard decision I probably drive when I could walk.

  • Hutch

    I agree wholeheartedly with what you are saying. If our streets are not safe, it is generally because we are afraid to walk them. I have no problem with trying to change the tide by walking more, but I’m not sure I would let my child do it. Way back when I let my son ride the streetcar to school in an unsafe city. Only later did I find that he was harassed on occasion. Probably a good learning experience. But with the increased danger on the streets today, I don’t think I would do it again.

  • http://www.citybabyliving.com Emily (CityBabyLiving.com)

    My daughter is going into kindergarten next year and is already asking when she’ll be old enough to walk by herself. I’m not sure how old she’ll be when I let her, but I promise that the first 10 times I’ll be a block behind her in a disguise.

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