...to look a bit like an "idiot American" by asking

(79 Posts)
Proginoskes Thu 21-Jan-16 15:39:16

...at what age do your DC go by themselves to school (assuming school is in walking distance)? I see so many 'school run' threads and it seems like up to a certain age they're escorted to the gate and...handed off to a teacher/minder? Or just let to go in the gate, but escorted by Mum/Dad/minder the whole way? I know that in a lot of cases they have to be taken by car because of overcrowded schools, but if the school is walking distance, what then?

Where I live (which is a smallish rural town with a hospital and a university being its biggest employers), only the kindergarteners (Reception?) and first graders really are walked right up to the school. Mostly the kids walk in groups - for some of the littles there is a "walking school bus" which is one adult with five or six littles on a particular route. But my DC and all their friends, except in freezing/snowy/icy/very hot weather, have been leaving the house and getting on to school since third grade, which is 7-8 years old. Granted, the way the K-5 schools are set up, no one lives more than a mile from one if that.

Katenka Thu 21-Jan-16 15:48:50

I still take dd she is in year 7 and live fairly rurally. It's a 2.5 mile walk and there isn't a foot path. Neither is it lit. Her school has a dedicated drop off point.

Ds would be run to primary all the time as he school is past dds.

By the time is in year 3/4 I am hoping to drop him at the gate though. Save me actually having to get dressed grin

UndramaticPause Thu 21-Jan-16 15:50:35

Year 6 for mine. They have several main roads to cross but these roads are manned by lollipop ladies and it's about 1.5 miles each way

MrsPear Thu 21-Jan-16 15:51:02

The rule - yes it is written down - that children age 9 and above can leave / arrive without a grown up. However you have to write a letter to the school confirming. Children under 9 are not suppose to be picked up by siblings but if they are teenage there seems to be a blind eye. All children line up in playground at the start and end of day. So that is where we take them.

But you will find huge variation - our school is hot on security others don't seem to care who wonders in or out!

DrDreReturns Thu 21-Jan-16 15:52:21

My son has walked to school by himself since the age of 9. But it's a safe walk - there are no major roads he needs to cross, and it is only takes ten minutes. If it was longer, or he had busy roads to cross he would still be accompanied.

MumOfTheMoment Thu 21-Jan-16 15:52:39

Rural village here. One or two in yr five/six walk themselves, vast majority are walked right to gates where the teacher on duty sees them onto school grounds, or parents do a drive by dump-and-run.

BornToFolk Thu 21-Jan-16 15:55:03

I'd say general rule of thumb is that most kids make their own way to school when they start Secondary and in a lot of places, kids get ready for this by walking to Primary school in Yr 6, possibly 5. I'm sure other people will disagree with me though! grin

I live a 5 min walk from DS's school. He's in Yr 3. On days he goes to breakfast club, I generally walk him to across the road from school and watch him go through the gates, on the other days, I see him into the actual classroom so that I can have a catch up with other parents in the playground and teacher if needed.
At the end of the day, the kids are only released to a parent or other known adult.
I imagine he'll start walking all by himself from Yr 5. Although, probably won't be totally by himself as we usually meet up with other kids on the way.

CMOTDibbler Thu 21-Jan-16 15:55:42

My ds is 9 and walks by himself to school, as do the majority of his classmates. Tiny town though.

But my US colleagues in a not that big town all drive their children around to/from school, so I think things are often more about where you live tbh

Proginoskes Thu 21-Jan-16 16:06:57

Wow! That's a lot more security than here; in Kindergarten they had to be signed out, but after that it was pretty much every kid for him or herself, though there were teachers watching out that no one got on the wrong bus or ran out in the street.

Our school situation is a little odd. The two elementary (used to be K-6, now K-5 and they're considering K-4; don't get me started...) schools in the center of town handle the majority of kids that live within the town proper. Then there's one school out east and one out west, that are maybe a mile and a half to two miles away and on a fast road - all kids going there are bused to and from.

The junior high (grades 6-8) and high (9-12) schools "pull" from nearly half the county though so there's a lot more variation as to walkers/dropped off/ride bikes/get bussed. My DS (and DD when she went though she's now home educated) vastly prefers to just walk unless it's like today - we've nearly reached the forecast high which is -8C grin and it's chucking it down snowing again.

stareatthetvscreen Thu 21-Jan-16 16:17:44

secondary school here - not walking its too far they go on the bus

OnceAMeerNotAlwaysAMeer Thu 21-Jan-16 16:21:08

7 year old kids here cycle home by themselves up to 2-3 miles shock though the smaller ones do have an orange flag sticking up so the car drivers can see them.

That includes at least 2 main roads.

I'm unable to allow our 7 1/2 yo to walk to school himself (5 min walk, one main road but a lights-controlled pedestrian crossing). I just can't do it. Husband, who's native to the netherlands, thinks im being silly. Maybe when he's 9.

bigbuttons Thu 21-Jan-16 16:24:52

We live in a village. My youngest 2 started walking to school last year. I had leave for work before them, only 20 mins, so they have to get themselves out of the house on their own. They were in year 3 and 4 at the time. They've never been late and there have never been any probs. There is one main road which has a crossing man.

WhyCantIuseTheNameIWant Thu 21-Jan-16 16:28:12

Ds walked half way on his own from year 3. Age 8.

He hates crossing the main road, so I took him that far.

Then when I had dd, we couldn't get the pram through the snow, so he decided he was quicker on his own. Aged 9. Y4.

Now he is a big boy and goes on the bus to big school sad

Wardrobespierre Thu 21-Jan-16 16:33:36

At our primary school (rural village) you must drop off and dc will only be handed over to a parent or named adult at the end of the day. No wiggle room. It's a lovely school. Never struck me as odd tbh. Secondary school is different. Rural so you're on the bus alone from day 1.

tabulahrasa Thu 21-Jan-16 16:36:11

It'll depend loads on what sort of area people live in and how far away the school is...

I live 2 streets from one primary school and one in the other direction from another in a small town...most children walk by themselves from about age 8.

The catchment areas aren't huge and I'm in Scotland so children generally do go to their catchment area school, so there are some who live at the edge of the area who have more like a mile to walk and a main road to cross, they tend to be a bit older than the rest.

NaughtToThreeSadOnions Thu 21-Jan-16 16:38:47

Well I remember my English primary school (spent until second class in Ireland) we shared a bus with the local secondry school in the morning so there were reception age kids on the bus only adult being the bus driver. Don't know if that's still the case.

Most primary schools I know of now my nephew and nieces schools it tends to be year five so ten years old, my goddaughter in Ireland started walking this year in 4th class again 10.

honeysucklejasmine Thu 21-Jan-16 16:41:20

In my town its from year five as they change schools then. So age 9-10

sandythesquirrel Thu 21-Jan-16 16:43:10

DS is in Year 6 and it is a 3 minute walk (two not-very-busy roads to cross) and with lots of kids/families walking but DS is scared of being 'kidnapped'. We have told him that by Easter he will walk on his own to practice for High School.

DH is also a complete helicopter parent who plans to be late to work so he can watch DS walk 'alone' to school. Turns out DH is equally terrified of DS being kidnapped! I have told him he is being a noob.

sandythesquirrel Thu 21-Jan-16 16:43:55

I forgot to add that school policy is that only kids in Year 6 can walk to school. Siblings in Year 6 cannot walk their younger siblings.

honeysucklejasmine Thu 21-Jan-16 16:44:22

My DN gets a bus to school from reception age. It's a village one so parents walk them to bus stop and collect from there too.

Changedtoday Thu 21-Jan-16 16:47:08

Up to and including year 2 (age 7/8) Primary school here insist you wait in the playground until they are collected by the teacher in the morning and will also not let them be collected by a sibling under 18 (officially)
My year 3 part-walks in the morning as we share the same route but I pick them up. In year 4 mine walk alone (5 mins, residential roads). But many parents still drop and collect every day, and virtually all live in walking distance of less than 20mins.
In secondary they make their own way (15 mins walking, less is cycling), those from further afield get dropped or come on the bus.

BertieBotts Thu 21-Jan-16 16:51:37

Interesting because I get the impression the US is way more hot on the issue of unattended children and child safety than the UK. For example children being picked up by CPS for being in a park alone when the parents had judged it as being safe (at around 9 years).

I went to school in the 90s and didn't walk alone until age 11. Used to pick my sister (9) up from her primary school when I was 12+.

SquinkiesRule Thu 21-Jan-16 16:52:30

Dd started walk to and from the local UK village school at 9. They don't like anyone in year 4 to walk alone so she waited till year 5. I've found the only ones who drive here, seem to be dropping of in cars are on the way to work.
In the US where we lived everyone was driven in, huge school very rural, no sidewalks anywhere and a fast highway to get to school 5 minute drive then 15 mins in the traffic line to drop off.

19lottie82 Thu 21-Jan-16 16:55:43

"Idiot American"??? Eh??? I don't think any American posters will be too obliged to you calling them idiots? I suggest you ask MNHQ to change the title as it's offensive and verging on racist.

timelytess Thu 21-Jan-16 17:00:34

Dd was accompanied to and from school until age 11.
There were some problems with bullying when she started going for the bus alone, so her grandfather took her to and from until she was 14.
At about 16 or 17, I started taking her to school because a man would hang about outside our house trying to see her. We live on a path, not a road, and he had no legitimate excuse to be there. But from around 15 or 16 she would travel the country alone, by public transport, to get to various courses she attended.

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