Wednesday, October 07, 2009

National Walk Your Child to School Day

Walking to school. It's something I did from fourth grade on. If the weather was particularly nasty there were rides involved, but otherwise I walked. Sometimes I walked alone, sometimes I walked with friends. Sometimes it was really cold and sometimes I needed an umbrella. But I understood that, in general, to get to school meant using foot power to get there.

Now my kids walk to school. It's not a hardship. The elementary school is roughly half a mile a way and the middle school about 3/4 of a mile. We've been walking since my daughter was in pre-school. It's a pleasant walk alongside a creek that is filled with geese and ducks and now even has fountains. We've seen turtles and egrets and hawks there as well. We go over a wooden bridge, and when it has rained recently the creek under the bridge rushes over the rocks likes waterfalls. We encounter two crossing guards on the way who always have a nice word. Walking isn't so bad.

I think it's important for the kids to walk to school. First, I want them to know that leaving the house does not automatically mean getting in the car. Second, the exercise is a good thing and when they then have to sit in school for six hours, I at least know there was some activity and exercise before they got there and will be some on the way home. Also, on days when it is blustery and not good days to play outside, once they've made the 15 minute walk home, I figure they've at least gotten some exercise and fresh air for the day and I don't mind if they stay in. Third, it's teaching them good safety rules. This is not my primary reason for walking, but whenever "Walk Your Child to School Day" comes around and people who don't usually walk hit the sidewalks the crossing guards always tell me how my kids understand about safely crossing the street and staying on the sidewalks, something she doesn't think a lot of those other kids quite get.

So, today is Walk Your Child to School Day. And it's raining. And my son is getting over a bronchial infection and guess what: I think we're driving today. But that's okay, because to us, almost every day is "Walk Your Child to School Day."

This was Pippi's last day of kindergarten, with our friendly local crossing guard.


Sarah Rettger said...

Woohoo! (Says the girl who a) doesn't have kids and b) stopped walking to school after the age of 7, when we moved to a place where it wasn't feasible.) Still, it's a very cool concept, and I'm glad Harry and Pippi are in a neighborhood where it works for them.

(Side note: Are you also in an area where they can walk into town themselves? I think I was a little younger than Pippi when I first started doing that, and I thought I was so very cool when I walked into a coffee shop and ordered a cappuccino all by myself.)

Christine M said...

Sarah, the school is basically downtown, so yes, they could do that - but I'd want them to go with friends. And there's not any cool coffee shop or anything. They do sometimes walk to the Krauszers or 7-11 to get candy. :)