In between sips of a Schnauzer Smoothie, the Puppy Blender recently posted a link to an article on Slate which, in turn, referenced this blog post on Chicago Now giving a kindergarten readiness list from 1979. The most culturally shocking one was this:
Can he travel alone in the neighborhood (four to eight blocks) to store, school, playground, or to a friend's home?There's been plenty of commentary in the blogosphere about how, 32 years later, this seems insane. It's not insane because 6-year-olds can't do it, it's insane because we're all convinced that child predators are lurking everywhere. Going back further in time, that 4-8 block reference number was probably larger. I've got a great aunt in Wisconsin who, in the 1930s, regularly walked 2 miles to school and back. It was no big deal then.
I've always tried to give my kids a lot of autonomy, but I don't recall giving them that much freedom at 6. A block, maybe, but not 4-8. Looking back at my own childhood, I think I was allowed 2 blocks, but that limit was only because my friends all lived within that radius.
I do know I didn't wear a helmet when I rode my bike. :-)