Wednesday, 3 September 2008

4 x 4? No, We Just Need 4 x 4 Hands

Having moved into our self-build project just before the end of last year’s school term we got in a little practice walking to nursery.

See before we occupied our house we were renting in a neighbouring village. This meant we were driving, or more specifically, I was driving to and from Max’s nursery and future school.

Walking is something I really looked forward to; I think every child should enjoy walking to school where it is reasonably possible.

Our rental property was a stone’s throw from a nursery and first school, and it used to grate me slightly that I was driving past it to get Max to his. Not least because it was a nightmare to get past just before it opened its doors for trading.

My thinking though was to start him at the place I intend his longer-term education to continue.

And also when we purchased our land the village school was actually struggling for numbers.

That isn’t the case today, due to a between time Ofsted report being graded as outstanding, apparently, an all too rare feat.

One thing I’d not really thought about in a less populated area, is that people rely on personal transport even more than those in more urban areas.

With less in safe walking distance from your home, a car journey is often un-avoidable.

It also means that twice a day the road that leads to the school is a temporary and unofficial car park.

In the 12 months that my child has been attending nursery, I think I’ve received more single subject letters about parking and advice on approaching the school, than on any other.

It is definitely not an isolated problem as I recall at least two local paper front-page pieces concerning school parking and potential schemes to alleviate the problems, in the village we took up temporary residence in.

As far as I can tell though, none of these investigations have looked at why there are cars everywhere and where they are actually coming from.

Parents are often off to work straight after dropping children off, and we even get villagers driving a matter of feet to be nearer the school, to ‘save’ time.

But what alarms me a tad more, is that some parents seem to be sending kids to further afield schools, rather than walk to a closer one, because of perceived differences based on very little, and some times based on nothing tangible.

I’m of the opinion if a school is decently staffed, isn’t falling down and has most of the equipment it needs that I won’t be driving past it, to one that has a load of mythical bells and whistles.

If my child wants to learn he will, if he doesn’t it won’t really help if he’s at Eton, if anything it is more dangerous.

All that scribed, after junior’s first day back, I could have done with a 4 x 4 to stick all his doings in.

We have a dinosaur, a knight, a dragon - effectively a lot of boxes stuck together - three drawings, his spare clothes bag and a receipt for our last payment of the previous year.

Add to that it was raining so I had my big umbrella, Max’s refusal to carry anything other than himself, which I tell you I was grateful that at least he wasn’t adding to my payload.

All this made for an interesting jaunt home.

We managed to avoid being run down, so us and all our bits made it back, safe and sound.

Perhaps, tomorrow, I should get a personal tow bar fitted.

Nah, it's probably illegal to tow on the pavement. Share/Save/Bookmark


Dan said...

I agree with you up to a point.

We actually moved in order to get away from the primary school we were in the catchment area for. It wasn't the quality of the teaching or the size of the classes, it was that the area consistently had the BNP as the party with the second most votes and was riddled with antisocial behaviour.

Parents have a massive influence on a child, bit so do peers.

It went against my every instinct as a left leaning wooly liberal mind you.

We wlak to school now. It is taking us 30 min to do a 10 min walk. the joys of walking with a 4 and a 2 year old.

Kori said...

I love the image of you and max trudging off to school. I live in a very rural area where it is nearly impossible to walk everywhere you need to go, so I envy you that. But then I remember living in Seattle where you could concevcable walk to any place you needed to go and people still drove. Makes me crazy. We Americans are a lazy lot, aren't we?

Xbox4NappyRash said...

I love the idea of walking to school.

Dunno why, it's kind of romantic.

Kori - Yes.

The Houser's said...

We live in the country, right across from the school. It's against policy for my kids to walk to school. So they have to get on a bus for a three minute ride if it's even that long.. if they were to miss the bus they have to walk back to our house and have me drive from town to pick them up and drive them over.. insane.. And the parents that drop off theif offspring at our school are extremely rude and never follow the posted directions.. crazy carpoolin' moms is what we call them;)

Single Parent Dad said...

Dan - It reads like you've made a decision based on many things, rather than a perception.

And I know what you mean about the walk. I allow 20 minutes for the journery to school, but when I leave on my own to pick him up it only takes 5!

Cheers Kori - It is lovely, and we are not on our own. We usually join up with a few chums and parents on the way round.

Thanks Xbox and I agree with you, don't tell Kori!

Blimey Housers sounds a tad complicated. We have friends that live in Florida and they have tried to explain their dropping off system to us a couple of times. They have a time slot, which if they miss causes all sorts of complications.

Tismee2 said...

I have a childminder who used to walk the kids to school every day until they moved a few miles out so Alexander is used to walking. However on the days I have him I would love to be able to walk and have a nice chat with him only we had to change school rather than lose our childminder who lives at the other side of town.
It was a difficult choice to make at the time. New Childminder or new school. Fortunately for us we won both ways as the new school has just got an outstanding grade. and the old one an unsatisfactory.

Luckily he was only in the old one for nursery and has settled i really well at his new one.

We are actually considering moving house to be nearer his school, so maybe I will one day be able to join the 'walking bus' as they call them around here.

We dont go back until next week so I haven't had the joy of the cardboard creatures yet.

Kassia @ Working Mum said...

I agree with walking to school where ever possible, some day's it just isn't possible as I need to drop off and get to work 20 miles away by 9:15am.

We live about a mile away from the school and quite frankly I don't fancy walking that far with a 5 year old so we bike. However it can be a bit of a palaver getting home. One day last week I had a gym bag, book bag, lunch bag, assorted junk models and drawings AND a child's scooter (don't ask!) all hanging off the handle bars. I'm thinking of getting one of those bike caravan thingys.

Post a Comment