Parents' Guide to

On the Way to School

By Brian Costello, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 10+

Stirring docu explores school journeys around the globe.

Movie NR 2009 77 minutes
On the Way to School Poster Image

A Lot or a Little?

What you will—and won't—find in this movie.

Community Reviews

age 6+

Based on 2 parent reviews

age 9+

Humbling Film!

As a 4th and 5th grade teacher, and I've shared this film with my students every year. It's a great way to end the year with an appreciation for the learning we've had the privilege to do, while also allowing kids the opportunity to see how other kids their age go about their daily lives. I think it approaches each child's journey to school in a very respectful way. It doesn't encourage or send messages of feeling bad for those in different positions than those of the viewer, it's just a very honest look at our differences, while connecting us through the common desire to learn and improve our lives. I selected 9+ because it does involve reading subtitles and may be difficult for younger children to follow along in a meaningful way.
age 2+

Absolutely incredible - perfect for every age.

I cannot give a higher rating for a film. Every kid (and adult) in my opinion, would benefit from this incredible film. It's uplifting but not designed to be a tear-jerker. The documentary maker is non-evasive. The silence and slow speed is what makes it genuine. A must see for any and all! (And 100% clean!)

Is It Any Good?

Our review:
Parents say: (2 ):
Kids say: Not yet rated

This eye-opening documentary should provide plenty for families to talk about. While it will most certainly give much-needed perspective to those of us who might complain about our commutes to school or work, what is especially astonishing about On the Way to School is how resilient and determined are these kids who are shown traveling far and treacherous distances to get an education. The challenges and difficulties they endure are almost beyond comprehension for those living in developed countries, and they underscore the problem of access to education so many in developing countries face.

While this documentary shows the "can-do" spirit of these kids, it only marginally touches on the inherent barrier placed on children and families living in these places where education is not as high of a priority or where kids must work to help provide food and sustenance. An argument could also be made that for all its implications about how it's relatively easy for kids in the developed world to get to and from school, the difficulties of kids trying to attend school in, say, Chicago's toughest neighborhoods could be equally as illuminating and worthy of investigation.

Movie Details

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