Free-range kids

I grew up in the suburbs of Toronto in the 70's. At that time, we walked to school with our friends right from kindergarten. We played on the street, in the parks without adult supervision. The general rule was to come home for meals and be back inside by the time the streetlights turned on.

Somewhere in the last 30 years this totally changed. But not because it's less safe. There have been highly publicized incidents of children abducted by strangers but this is very rare. We don't think twice about driving with our children even though this is far more likely to cause injury.

The happiest part of this beautiful summer we had was Harry making friends with Victor who lives a couple of houses away. They played in our backyards, in the alley and on our block. It felt like the old days to me.

Harry is very excited at the idea of walking to school on his own. We live about a 3 minute walk to the school. I say hi and wave to every neighbour along the way. I feel sure folks would be willing to keep an eye out for him and other kids- Block Parents- we used to call them.

But it's pretty rare to see kids on the streets on their own today. To my mind, it's not kids walking to school with a friend and without an adult that makes it unsafe, it's that he'd be the only kid doing it.

I'd love to see this change over time. We live in such a gem of a neighbourhood. It would be lovely to raise some free-range children who felt confident exploring their neighbourhood and who knew the neighbours they could go to for help if needed.

FreeRange Kids is a blog that explores these issues. Check it out- what do you think? http://freerangekids.wordpress.com/