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Walking to school

Fredrikstad. Norway:  I remember when I was a kid I walked to school alone without any parents. I know I share this experience with many readers. It is a mantra I hear a lot from people growing up in the 70’s regardless if they grew up in Norway or the US/Canada.

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I know that my kid’s childhood is very different that mine with less freedom and always with some parent supervision in Toronto. We walk to school together and I would never let her walk by herself even though we are only about a 5 minute walk to the school, on a street with little traffic and sidewalks. I live in a very safe neighborhood in Toronto, and according to statics Toronto in one of North America’s safest cities.

Walking to school is a norm
I have heard rumors that fewer kids walk to school in Norway too and that kids do not walk to school anymore.So I was pleasantly surprised when I discovered that kids still do walk to school as I did, alone and without any parent supervision. In fact it is a norm here. At least this is what I have discovered at my daughters school in Fredrikstad.

My daughter is not use to walking by herself, so she was not too eager to do so. But, after a week one of her classmates offered to walk with her and she went on her way to the school by herself. It was interesting that I had to go in myself since I was not sure if I could let her walk by herself, even though I did as a child.

I had to admit I had to go and check on her so I went to the school and made sure she had made it. While I was there watching the kids play, one child came up to me and said.  “Do you work here? “   I said “no, I’m just a parent”. She said; “why are you here, then? “

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Why are we so afraid for our children ?
I realized I’m a “Canadian” mom, I might be Norwegian but now I’m used to a different parenting culture and how the society looks at children.  I’m wondering why is it that one country can look so differently about what is appropriate for a child to do. Just so you know I do not see any parents at my daughter’s school and a kid walking to school is normal from the age of 7 years old, and this is a 15 minute walk from home to school.  According to FreeRangeKids. Statically crime has decreased in North America, so why are we so afraid for our children?

Also read : What is the right age to let kids walk to places alone ?

Last week post : Norway School: climbing trees


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