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Old 12.04.2011, 10:04
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Re: Parents scolded by Teachers.

My 5 year old son told me that I wasn't allowed to walk him to school. And that was in the first week of Kindergarten!

I allow for a 30min 900m walk down the hill to the Kindergarten. I feel OK because we are in a family-centric villiage and there are a lot of other kids walking, some with their Mums.

I kiss him good bye at the front door and tell him I will see him at lunch. Food is a great motivator and he is home within 10-15mins of school finishing.

He values the independence and responsibility of going to and from school.

Now coming home from school for lunch is the biggest headache for me. He only has a full day one day per week thankfully.
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Old 12.04.2011, 10:15
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Re: Parents scolded by Teachers.

During the first few weeks/months of school, children are usually accompanied by a parent or another adult. It's usually by the end of October that kids really start walking by themselves to school without supervision.

Listen to your child. Your child will let you know when he doesn't want you to walk him to school. It's important for him to be accepted by his peers and also know that Mommy trusts him. The first few weeks of letting your child go can be horror for a Mom but after awhile, after seeing that everything is OK, you'll get used to it.

Be grateful our kids can still walk to school here on their own. We don't instill fear into our kids like they do in the States. Instead, we work with common sense.

Of course, there aren't as many crazy people here as in the States either.
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  #83  
Old 12.04.2011, 10:18
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Re: Parents scolded by Teachers.

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Obviously things are different here in Switzerland. I don't have any children yet, but at this point in time, I can't imagine allowing my future kids to walk so far alone unaccompanied. My feelings might change, I don't know. When I expressed my fears and doubts to my husband (Swiss), he said that not only is it perfectly normal here in Switzerland, but if you were to walk or take your kids to school, the teacher (backed by the school principal) will even scold and berate you for it.
Where I live, most children walk to school or kindergarten themselves - although they usually walk in pairs or small groups.

Some parents walk with the younger ones and collect them later. No one at the school or Kindergarten seems to mind.

However, where you would be in trouble is if you drove you your children to school. In this case you would get a letter from the school.
Most people have already gone to work by the time school starts so there is less traffic but the last thing we need is loads of cars driven by parents speeding up and down along the roads near our schools.
That just makes it dangerous for all the other children who are walking.
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  #84  
Old 12.04.2011, 10:29
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Re: Parents scolded by Teachers.

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We don't instill fear into our kids like they do in the States. Instead, we work with common sense.

That's an ignorant statement, simply put.
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Old 12.04.2011, 10:43
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Re: Parents scolded by Teachers.

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That's an ignorant statement, simply put.
I'm basing it on experience so no, it's a fact.
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Old 12.04.2011, 10:45
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Re: Parents scolded by Teachers.

Thanks everyone for your thoughts. I was also interested on how much say a school/teacher has over your own kids. For example does it differ from canton to canton, between private and public schools, international/Montessori schools etc?

A few years ago a 4yr old got crushed under a truck at a pedestrian crossing not far from where I live. He was going home for lunch. He pressed the button and crossed when it turned green. I guess he was a bit slow in crossing (or daydreaming, as kids tend to do) because as the lights turned green for the traffic, the truck (who couldn't see that he was still crossing) started and ran him over. My husband was there with the voluntary firefighters to pick up the pieces. It was a terrible, terrible thing.

I know, accidents will happen no matter what, and we can't shield our children (in this case my future (hopefully) children) from everything. But I was just thinking, if I was the teacher who had scolded his parents for walking him to school, and this accident happened as a result, how would I live with myself.

I am also a teacher, but have not had much experience dealing with young children, and would not like to ever be in the position where I would have to tell parents off.
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Old 12.04.2011, 10:50
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Re: Parents scolded by Teachers.

I guess it also depends how long it takes the kids to get to school, if there is too much traffic between school and home and also if the kids are going alone or in a group. I live on top of a steep hill that has buses and horses and very narrow roads sometimes with no sidewalk, sorry but I will not let my kids walk alone...God I will be a helicopter mom, I do not even have kids yet
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Old 12.04.2011, 10:52
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Re: Parents scolded by Teachers.

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A few years ago a 4yr old got crushed under a truck at a pedestrian crossing not far from where I live. He was going home for lunch. He pressed the button and crossed when it turned green. I guess he was a bit slow in crossing (or daydreaming, as kids tend to do) because as the lights turned green for the traffic, the truck (who couldn't see that he was still crossing) started and ran him over. My husband was there with the voluntary firefighters to pick up the pieces. It was a terrible, terrible thing.
That is a terrible thing and affects the whole community. In my community, a similar tragic accident happened 15 years ago. The child is still in a wheelchair.

Parents (100% Swiss) tried to convince the Gemeinderat and the Kanton to build a pedestrian tunnel under the busy street but they were denied. Why? Money, tunnel security and maintenance and the sheer fact that many children wouldn't use the tunnel anyway because of its location.

I, for one, wish they would use blinking lights to warn motorists that schoolchildren will be crossing the street.
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Old 12.04.2011, 10:56
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Re: Parents scolded by Teachers.

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Thanks everyone for your thoughts. I was also interested on how much say a school/teacher has over your own kids. For example does it differ from canton to canton, between private and public schools, international/Montessori schools etc?
Yes.

Here there are certainly parents who drive their kids to school, as the distance can be several km.

Tom
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Old 12.04.2011, 11:00
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Re: kids walking to school on their own

There has been a huge development in my commune, hundreds of new appartments (and therefore children). Since the local primary school is across a fairly busy road from the development, they installed a new pedestrian crossing, which is more-or-less permanently on red between 7.45 and 8.15. Super safe for the kids, but the traffic queues can be horrendous. I don't know why they didn't build an elevated walkway, not only would it be ultimately safer, but would have maintained the traffic flow.
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Old 12.04.2011, 11:18
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Re: kids walking to school on their own

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That's an ignorant statement, simply put.
I agree with you. My experience was more about sidewalks missing, not about instilling fear. In fact, the US atmosphere where I lived where often lot less paranoid than some of the local neighbors/friends here we have here.

I think to make a blanket statement about kids having to walk no matter what is a silly one. Depends on the community, how busy it is, where it is. When we lived in boondocks where a car would pass once an hour, I can imagine kids happily skipping on the way to the village school. The occasional kid's brainfart would be stepping in cow's manure. Not a kid under a truck.

Where we live now, there is a pedestrian ran over every year, about. The illogically put crosswalks, heavy urban traffic, super busy city center with absolutely no parking make it a headache. All the kids I see have their moms or walk in groups (pedibus). What I don't get is the theories on a child being mocked and bullied because his/her parents decided to walk him/her, and wave goodbye a street or corner away.

I wish I lived far from school that mom would have to walk me, I also grew up in a culture of everyone walking, 3yr olds playing outside on their own, it is not so special here. It's the memories I have of hanging with folks and chitchatting that I cherish, since there is so much more time left when the child grows up a tad for hanging out with peers.

Independence has nothing to do with walking to school on our own, can be achieved through so many different ways, and later on, too. Why train it putting some kids in a real risk if the community is not suited for it. I think it is a bit black and white. (and no, I am not a big fan of soccer moms and giant SUVs polluting the school yard either). Walking with a 4yr old is no crime.
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Old 12.04.2011, 11:28
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Where we live now, there is a pedestrian ran over every year, about. The illogically put crosswalks, heavy urban traffic, super busy city center with absolutely no parking make it a headache. All the kids I see have their moms or walk in groups (pedibus). What I don't get is the theories on a child being mocked and bullied because his/her parents decided to walk him/her, and wave goodbye a street or corner away.
If my child lived in a super busy city center where pedestrians are run over annually, I would walk my young child to school too. It does depend on where you live and again, it all has to do with common sense.

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There has been a huge development in my commune, hundreds of new appartments (and therefore children). Since the local primary school is across a fairly busy road from the development, they installed a new pedestrian crossing, which is more-or-less permanently on red between 7.45 and 8.15. Super safe for the kids, but the traffic queues can be horrendous. I don't know why they didn't build an elevated walkway, not only would it be ultimately safer, but would have maintained the traffic flow.
The problem with elevated walkways is that many people don't use them due to: stairs, time, inconvenience, scooters, bikes, buggies, etc. That's why such a walkway was voted down in my community.

Last edited by MusicChick; 12.04.2011 at 11:32. Reason: successive posting..
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  #93  
Old 12.04.2011, 13:28
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Re: kids walking to school on their own

Agreed that it is a complex issue. Here in the rural Jura all kids walk - unless it is pouring with rain or very cold. In the UK most kids are taken by car, and the danger levels around schools is HUGE - with cars parked on double-yellow line, pavements, grass, even right up or on pedestrian crossings. Sadly these kids are more likely to be killed or injured by such behaviour or by ensuing obesity, than by walking home.

Wouldn't be tragic if we end up making our kids sick, or even kill them- by wanting to (over) protect them

Organising a walking train and rosta is a wonderful solution.
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  #94  
Old 19.01.2012, 20:00
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Re: kids walking to school on their own

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It's usual for kids here to walk to school - 1km doesn't seem that far to me, ours have about the same. It's a great chance for them to find their way around and discuss kiddie things (Pokemon, Spongebob etc) with their pals.

I would (as I did with ours) accompany your son on foot until feel it's safe enough for him to go alone with his friends. Perhaps you could take it in turns with other parents. If the roads are very dangerous, I'm sure other parents will be facing the same anxiety. Go all the way at first, then just parts of the way. Also talk to the teacher about your fears.

When the kids do go by themselves, it's a great achievement for all around and a time-saver too.

You may want to consider getting him a scooter/trotinette later.

Good luck!
Hi, I also will be moving to Aarau in April, today I was told that parents canīt walk with their children to school, I donīt have a problem with this once he has settled and feels comfortable with going alone, he has just turned 5 years old, doesn't speak the language, leaving his home, school, friends etc besides the moving to a new country with all complications that come with settling in a new Country/environment to get used to, I think that this would effect him and me very much, him in the sense that he will not know the language should he need to ask and me not having the piece of mind that he is ok, plus I just find that they are to young at this age, Is this really the way it is?, I would also like to speak to his teacher on a regular basis with my concerns as to how he is fitting in and her advice as to how I can do my part .

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Old 19.01.2012, 20:25
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Re: kids walking to school on their own

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Hi, I also will be moving to Aarau in April, today I was told that parents canīt walk with their children to school, I donīt have a problem with this once he has settled and feels comfortable with going alone, he has just turned 5 years old, doesn't speak the language, leaving his home, school, friends etc besides the moving to a new country with all complications that come with settling in a new Country/environment to get used to, I think that this would effect him and me very much, him in the sense that he will not know the language should he need to ask and me not having the piece of mind that he is ok, plus I just find that they are to young at this age, Is this really the way it is?, I would also like to speak to his teacher on a regular basis with my concerns as to how he is fitting in and her advice as to how I can do my part .

There is no rule that you "can't" walk your child to school - and indeed I think in your circumstances, any parent would walk their child to school in the first few months, if not for longer.

I walked my eldest to school practically the whole first year of kindergarten. We live 1.4km away from school and there is a difficult blind bend on a busy road to cross half way along the route, plus no other children from our road were of kindergarten age. Finally, I decided that until I was confident that he understood "stranger danger" I wasn't going to let anyone tell me what to do and not do with my child. But the teachers were super cool and it was never a problem.

When he turned 5, I asked him about what would he do if someone pulled up in a car and said to him "I know your mummy. She said I could give you some sweets. Would you like some sweets?" and do you know what he said he would say? "thank you very much. I would love some sweets." so on this evidence, I kept walking with him for another 6 months.

I then gradually let him go the last little bit on his own. He knew more children, could speak Swiss German better and I reasoned that if he hooked up with little kindergarten buddies to walk the second half, it was fine.

I must say however that during my year or so of accompanying him, I saw all sorts of near misses with his classmates, and stopped, on occasions too frequent to count, kids from hairing across roads without stopping and looking. It was quite clear to me that whilst, in controlled circumstances and having just been reminded of the importance of "listening, looking, crossing" they are more than capable of doing crossing a road properly, out on the street, with the fun of their friends, it is the first thing they forget.

My own take on it is that quite a few parents in the village have me to thank that their child did not get run over ....

Stick to your instincts and let your little one go it alone when you are happy with it. It is a great thing to teach them independence at this age, and I would not worry in the slightest about being "forced" to let your little one go it alone until he is quite ready for it.
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Old 19.01.2012, 20:41
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Re: kids walking to school on their own

I started walking to school alone when I was in later years of kindergarten (not sure about the Swiss, but where I grew up we started kindergarten at the age of 2 or so). I think it's fine for kids if they walk alone, gives them a chance to talk to each other and socialize.
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Old 19.01.2012, 20:41
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Re: kids walking to school on their own

As a teacher, I am horrified to think that any teachers feel they have the right to tell parents that they cannot walk to school with their children. HOwever, I do know that the Basel curriculum for the Kg aged children, certainly mentions developing the independence to go to school alone, as one of the goals. - so perhaps, teachers/ some schools are being over zealous on this one. ( perhaps)

Personally, I see parents from my school walking with their children every morning. I like the way they all seem to walk along, holding hands and happily chatting. For busy, working parents, I suspect this is one of the nicest relaxing times of the day for both child and parent.

If you want to walk with your child, then I suggest you do so right up till they actually tell you not too - that day will come, perhaps when they are 6, perhaps not for a few oreyears, but in the meantime, enjoy the shared time together with your children.
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Old 19.01.2012, 20:43
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Re: kids walking to school on their own

When we moved here last February, I walked my 6 year old for around 2 months to K2. Her school is atleast 10 minutes away. Its not true that you are NOT allowed to walk your child. Maybe replace "walk" with "drive"...they are more against that but its a different issue. With my daughter, i gradually walked her from door to door...then to the last turn, then to the last crossing and then one day, she told us she can do it on her own.
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Old 19.01.2012, 20:44
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Re: kids walking to school on their own

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There is no rule that you "can't" walk your child to school - and indeed I think in your circumstances, any parent would walk their child to school in the first few months, if not for longer.

I walked my eldest to school practically the whole first year of kindergarten. We live 1.4km away from school and there is a difficult blind bend on a busy road to cross half way along the route, plus no other children from our road were of kindergarten age. Finally, I decided that until I was confident that he understood "stranger danger" I wasn't going to let anyone tell me what to do and not do with my child. But the teachers were super cool and it was never a problem.

When he turned 5, I asked him about what would he do if someone pulled up in a car and said to him "I know your mummy. She said I could give you some sweets. Would you like some sweets?" and do you know what he said he would say? "thank you very much. I would love some sweets." so on this evidence, I kept walking with him for another 6 months.

I then gradually let him go the last little bit on his own. He knew more children, could speak Swiss German better and I reasoned that if he hooked up with little kindergarten buddies to walk the second half, it was fine.

I must say however that during my year or so of accompanying him, I saw all sorts of near misses with his classmates, and stopped, on occasions too frequent to count, kids from hairing across roads without stopping and looking. It was quite clear to me that whilst, in controlled circumstances and having just been reminded of the importance of "listening, looking, crossing" they are more than capable of doing crossing a road properly, out on the street, with the fun of their friends, it is the first thing they forget.

My own take on it is that quite a few parents in the village have me to thank that their child did not get run over ....

Stick to your instincts and let your little one go it alone when you are happy with it. It is a great thing to teach them independence at this age, and I would not worry in the slightest about being "forced" to let your little one go it alone until he is quite ready for it.
ecb, Thank you, personally I did find it strange not to be given a choice as to I walked my son to school or not, its all very fine and well in adapting to the ways of the Swiss and I agree totally but all in its proper time i'm sure, did your little one have and German language when he began his time at school? and did he adapt well with the local children?
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Old 19.01.2012, 20:51
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Re: kids walking to school on their own

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ecb, Thank you, personally I did find it strange not to be given a choice as to I walked my son to school or not, its all very fine and well in adapting to the ways of the Swiss and I agree totally but all in its proper time i'm sure, did your little one have and German language when he began his time at school? and did he adapt well with the local children?
No. In my experience, there is no compulsion to not walk them, but as Biff says, over the 2 years they are in KG, there is a desire to move them towards this level of independence.

I know that in some schools, they are quite strict about dropping children in the car, but at our school this was never a problem. My younger son had a playgroup which I drove him to, and passed the KG on my way. It would have been stupid to not let my older son come with us and to drop him off. This was once a week, so I think it was fine. If you did it systematically every day, it could cause problems. But if you had a good reason to do it (you were ill or you just had another baby .) then again, not an issue for a few weeks.

My eldest moved over at almost 4 years old and had no German whatsoever. It took him a year to adapt, feel confident and start speaking. But when he started .. he never stopped! It is alarming to see your previously joyous, loud and enthusiastic child turn taciturn and non involved overnight. The teachers were wonderful. They kept saying, give him time. And they were right. So all the more reason for you to pitch up at the school gates in the first few months if only to get this vital support from what, in our experience, were two really wonderful teachers.
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