Dropping your child off at his classroom gives you a chance to see your child's classroom, interact with the teacher, meet other parents and say a proper good-bye, so it's easy to see why many parents like to do so. There is no law preventing parents from walking their children to class, but many schools and school districts discourage it while others welcome parents in the classrooms at drop-off. If walking your child to his classroom is important to you, ask school administrators about the policies at his school before hand-delivering him each morning.
Advantages of Children Walking Alone
Many schools ask parents to drop their children off either in a drive up drop-off lane in front of the school or at an outside door that leads directly to the child's classroom. Schools often establish this rule because it encourages the students to be more independent and self-sufficient. Asking parents to drop their children off outside the building also reduces the number of people going in and out of the building, which greatly increases the security and safety of the school. Dropping children off outside minimizes the distractions associated with multiple adults being in the classroom, as well.
Disadvantages of Children Walking Alone
When you don't get to walk your child directly to his classroom, you miss out on regular interaction with his teacher and with the parents of your child's classmates. You also have less time to view his artwork hanging in the classroom or see what other things he might be working on during the day, which many parents enjoy, according to Carol Gestwicki, author of "Home, School, & Community Relations." Dropping your child off outside also rushes your time to say goodbye. Many parents also find comfort in walking their child to class because they know he's safe and sound right where he's supposed to be.
Just because you can walk your child to class doesn't mean that you should. Of course, preschoolers and kindergartners can be walked to class because they are too young to be responsible for getting themselves where they need to be. Even so, many schools have parents pass their children off to the teacher outside instead of at the classroom door. Once your child gets older, she needs to learn how to be responsible for herself and that includes walking to class and taking care of her morning duties. Taking charge and hand-delivering your child to class every morning removes that responsibility from her because she knows you'll cover for her. It can also be embarrassing for an older child to have Mom or Dad tag along to the door. Children like to feel independent, and walking alone can help them feel more grown up.
Most schools allow parents to walk their child to their classroom for the first few days of a new school year, as well as when their child is new to the school in the middle of the school year. Special needs students, such as those with autism, might be walked to class by a parent each day. If a child is going through a traumatic event, such as parental divorce or the death of a loved one, many schools will waive the rules and let the child be dropped off in the classroom by a parent. If you would like more involvement without walking your child to class, talk with the Parent Teacher League or administrators at your child's school about holding a parent night or opening up the classroom once a week or once a month for parents to come visit. That will keep drop-off less stressful, while still giving you and other parents a chance to be involved with the school.