When we lived in Melbourne, Aust. our son walked (the safe, 1km route) to school by himself, from about 8yo. Our daughter did the same thing, when she was old enough– sometimes with him, sometimes not. We let them venture out bit by bit, as they gained confidence and showed us they were responsible. I cannot tell you how many (well-meaning, but still!) school parents approached them and asked if they were “ok” or “needed a ride” etc, etc as they were walking. Somehow these parents just could not get their heads around the idea that we had _sanctioned_ this behavior. At times it made my kids uncomfortable and/or confused, as they were made to feel they were doing something wrong.
I also headed up a Walking School Bus on the route when my kids were younger. Usually parents INSISTED on accompanying their children on the walk, despite the fact it totally defied the point of it. I assured them they would be safe walking in the group, as there were two adults (myself included) who had received _training and certification_ from the local council, chaperoning it. Usually the only people who were ok dropping their kids onto the WSB and getting on with their own lives were the European expats, lol.
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