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to think that making children at after school club do a long walk is cruel?

(81 Posts)
theDMsaSHAMazade Thu 03-Sep-09 20:13:38

am livid after going to a trial run at dd1s after school club.

The infants are expected to do a 15 minute walk through a park rife with unleashed dogs in the cold, wind and rain (and soon to come snow, sleet and hail) to the juniors site, wait in the cold for the juniors and then do a 15 minute walk back. whats making my blood boil is that the after school centre is NEXT DOOR TO the school premises- so ideally they should be dropped off at the club in 2 minutes flat , and the supervisors go and pick up the big kids up. the reason why this didn't happen- one of the childcare workers said she had to leave work early due to paperwork hmm and so couldnt stay on the premises to watch the children!!!!!!!!!! and apparently has had this excuse for years.(this is what one of the supervisors told me.) there is a shortcut that would shorten the trip by half the time but apparently it 'failed risk assessment'. the poor children as young as 4 and 5 were freezing cold with runny noses, and one child was so tired she fell over. when they got back to the centre after a half an hour walk plus a 15 min wait at the junior site, they were all weary and exhausted with runny noses.
dd1 is only at nursery and i feel sick with dread and guilt that she'll have to go through this for a year whilst i go back to uni. she's normally exhausted after a normal full day at school, never mind this :-(
the supervisors are very unhappy about this, they say that their manager won't do anything unless a parent complains. i am going to complain and unleash my fury in writing but i don't want them to delay action as dd starts on monday. i am just feeling so awful and angry that other children have to do this, they ALL looked unhappy and apparently complain about the walk all the time. I'm also shocked that other parents haven't complained but have a strong feeling its because none of them have ever been on the route with the children before (i'm the first parent to do a trial run).
i honestly think this is child cruelty. i am just seething and needed somewhere to rant.

GeekIsGood Thu 03-Sep-09 20:17:32

Are you joking?

HerBeatitude Thu 03-Sep-09 20:18:46

Sorry but I honestly don't think a 30 minute walk is an act of cruelty. It is what children have legs for. If they had to do the 30 minutes in 10 minutes or something, then yes, I would say it was unreasonable, but making children walk is not a bad thing, it is actually good for them.

Not sure about making them wait in the cold though and it does sound like a bit of a rubbish, inefficient arrangement. If you're going to complain, I really wouldn't do it on the basis of walking being considered an act of cruelty. It's not and if more kids did it more often, there wouldn't be an obesity epidemic.

LuluMaman Thu 03-Sep-09 20:21:05

the waiting in the cold is not good. is there any shelter?

the paperwork excuse should be looked at if it is preventing her remaining on site to look afer the children

the short cut should be looked at again to make sure it is safe

don't think the walking per se is an issue, but the waiting etc is

rubyslippers Thu 03-Sep-09 20:21:28

no it isn't child cruelty and to suggest it is is OTT

however, it sounds like a daft arrangement

ask to see the risk assessment which means a short cut can't be used

theDMsaSHAMazade Thu 03-Sep-09 20:24:41

not the walking per se is cruel, but the fact that it took 45 minutes to get to the final destination when it actually should take 2 minutes.
my kids walk everywhere, i don't drive, and they are 2 and 4. but i wouldn't out of choice make them do a fast half an hour walk in the rain directly after school when they're ravenous, grubby and cranky. (the 6 and 7 year olds go much faster than the 4 year olds and obviously the 4 year olds have to keep up with them.

LuluMaman Thu 03-Sep-09 20:25:42

yes, that is ridicolous and surely a lot more hard work and effort than 2 minute walk

GeekIsGood Thu 03-Sep-09 20:28:41

Your choice of language is a leetle over the top - 'child cruelty', 'fury', 'livid' even. And one child was so tired she fell over, goodness!

I didn't take this seriously, I can't imagine the school will if you complain in these terms. If you think making children walk for half an hour with a rest in the middle is cruelty you had better not look up what 5-year-olds in third world countries are expected to put up with.

If they honestly do have to wait 15 minutes standing around at the other site that's not ideal but was there maybe just some sort of hold up today? You have only been once. If that exhausted them they clearly need the exercise.

HerBeatitude Thu 03-Sep-09 20:29:19

OK that sounds more reasonable.

famishedass Thu 03-Sep-09 20:30:11

yabu - government guidelines recommend children have 60 minutes exercise a day. This after school walk takes care of half of that. You should be thanking them.

Parents should ensure their children are dressed appropriately for the all weather walk.

wannaBe Thu 03-Sep-09 20:33:30

it seems inefficient but it is not cruelty and to be livid over it is totally OTT.

HerBeatitude Thu 03-Sep-09 20:34:57

I would concentrate on the inefficency of the arrangements and on the fact that walking at the pace of the older children is inappropriate and unfair on the younger ones.

theDMsaSHAMazade Thu 03-Sep-09 20:35:54

greekisgood, sorry, i'm not going to use third world standards to define what is unreasonable for my own children.
We're not in the third world.

famishedass- the children at nursery run wild after lunch for almost an hour. my children go to the park almost everyday after school come rain or shine they go with their wellies on. Exercise should be something enjoyable, not something you're made to do at a pace you can't keep up with in horrid weather. the children would probably have loved this on a sunny day first thing in the morning, just seemed awful last thing in the school day. And like i've said before.. the site itself is NEXT TO the school..

theDMsaSHAMazade Thu 03-Sep-09 20:37:06

thanks for the suggestion, her beautitude. will take it on board when writing to them.

famishedass Thu 03-Sep-09 20:38:28

I'm confused. Why do they need to go to the after school club if they go to the park everyday after school?

famishedass Thu 03-Sep-09 20:40:16

Now I've just re-read your OP I've even more confused. What on earth is a "trial run" for parents at an after school club?

theDMsaSHAMazade Thu 03-Sep-09 20:46:37

famishedass: i'm only just going back to uni this year, prior to this my routine was to take the children to the park everyday after paicking up dd1 from school. This will now stop as i'm studying.

trialrun: one of the keyworkers suggested that dd1 get a taste of what after school club will be like so we could do a trial today . same lady who has the paperwork excuse! guess she's created a rod for her own back as i'm going to complain about this system.

cat64 Thu 03-Sep-09 20:54:36

Message withdrawn

pocketmonster Thu 03-Sep-09 21:28:29

YANBU - my DD1 started in reception last January and she was going to go to the local After School Club - they expected the kids to walk 20 minutes along very narrow pavements on a main road from her school to the nursery/afterschool club. My DD who was 4.5 found the experience in the cold and dark after a long tiring day at school, without a member of the family too much too deal with. She was very tearful, cold and scared - despite being used to walking that far and being appropriately dressed for the weather.

They don't need that extra exercise - the lunch hour is 1.5 hours and they have morning and afternoon breaks. They run around continually during that time, so even with time to each lunch they get their 60 mins of exercise each day.

Sassybeast Thu 03-Sep-09 21:32:09

Blimey - I'll expect SS at the door pronto. My little one walks to school with her sister in the morning (15 minutes) We then wait 10 minutes outside for nursery to open. I then walk to pick her up at lunchtime and walk home. We then walk back to pick her sister up in the afternoon so that's 60 minutes walking every day. I'm not exactly sure why you are verging on hysteria ?

theDMsaSHAMazade Thu 03-Sep-09 21:33:27

thanks for understanding , pocketmonster. reading some of the replies on this this thread was making me question my own sanity..

theDMsaSHAMazade Thu 03-Sep-09 21:35:56

sassybeast, would your little one be equally happy to do all of this with strangers after a full day at school?

its not quite the same when you've got your mum holding your hand there and back hmm.

hocuspontas Thu 03-Sep-09 21:42:19

What do you suggest pocketmonster - a coach?

Its not practical for every school in the country to have an after-school facility. As long as there is one within the community that is accessible that's all that is required. Some children ARE going to have to walk. 20/30 mins! My pre-schoolers did that 2 or 3 times a day for years. It's normal.

The junior school thing. Agree that the juniors will be out by the time the others get there I would imagine - so 30 mins. No biggie.

MmeLindt Thu 03-Sep-09 21:43:08

Your OP is a bit ranty, and slightly difficult to understand. (Is it just me tonight?)

I don't really understand why they are walking at all.

They walk to the juniors site to pick up the juniors then walk back?

And the reason for this is staffing problems?

Did I understadn that right? If so then YANBU. Taking the DC for a walk is ok, but there is no reason for this other than paperwork that has to be done.

Do write and complain, but concentrate on the main issue, that it is hardly fair to expect the children to wander around in the cold for 30 mins just so paperwork can be done.

pocketmonster Thu 03-Sep-09 21:43:19

Sassybeast - my DD's both walk to and from school with me, they walk to town, the park, the swimming pool, round NT properties, up big hills. But those walks are with people they know and not in the dark with people they don't know and also not after - what is to a small child - a long day at school, which in itself is quite a daunting and tiring experience for 4 or 5 year olds. Also my DD1 is a stoical little girl who rarely complains about things and usually just gets on with it - the fact she was so distressed by the walk upset me very much and that is because I am her mother and I love her very much - not because I'm hysterical.

theDM I took my DD out of the After School Club and instead she goes to a Childminders -this works much better in lots of ways and she is much happier. She walks home from school perfectly happily with the CM, but there are only 4 of them walking and she knows the CM well now so its not an issue. I hope you get things sorted out.

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