It is no secret they do things differently here in Germany. We are here as a guest in their country, and I’m doing my best to adapt. Some things are easy (ahem, beer), but some things are hard. The hardest one for me is letting my kids go.
In the last year of Kindy (preschool is three years, including at age 5, our kindergarten year), the kids are expected to learn how to walk home from school alone. The police came and taught them how to safely cross streets, be aware of their surroundings and stay on the sidewalks. The parents teach the kids the way home from school and home. Now that the snow has melted I see parents walking their kids 4/5 of the way to school, then 2/3, then 1/2 way and now, I’m assuming, waving from the door as these incredibly small & young kids walk to school alone. Walk home alone.
Frau VestberrY has had some gentle encouragement from Dane’s teachers to let Dane walk home alone. I’m pretty sure the general consensus is that I’m overprotective, or even, gasp, a helicopter parent! The peer pressure to let Dane walk home alone is enormous. I want so much to integrate but every bone & fiber in my body is screaming that he is much, much too young. Heck, it’s only been 3 months since Tess has been allowed to walk to & from school alone. Thankfully in a big herd of kids, but my heart still races when she’s a minute late coming home from school.
Yesterday I decided to compromise. I let Tess walk from her school, to Dane’s school (the elementary school & the kindergarten are two different schools) and pick Dane up. Kindy has no problem letting 5-yr-olds leave with 11-yr-olds. And while I really, really, really wanted to be all German about this. I just couldn’t. I had to play spy mom. Since I don’t have a helicopter, or even a car LOL, I followed at a great distance on my bike. I am a bicycle mom.