Betyr det også "The child walks to the school"?
I'd think that'd be: Barnet går til skolen.
Correct. "Å gå på skolen" refers to the act of going to school as in being in school, not to the process of getting there.
I'm noticing that, in listening exercises, I can't tell the difference between barnet and barna. Anyone else have this problem?
"barn-e(h)" vs. "barn-a"
Jeg har samme problem
I tried really hard with this one and the slow speed in particular sounded so much like 'a' not 'et'.
Wrong again sigh
Further to this, I can report that I can now pretty reliably hear the difference between barna and barnet. It is achievable with practice.
for me in this course there has consistently been a subtle glottal stop in barnet and a slightly tinned vowel sound. with time and practice i am able to detect them more without resorting to context
Is the definite form always necessary in cases like this? Could, "barnet går på skole" also work here? And if so, would the meaning change?
No, but it's more common in most situations.
"Å gå på skole" is often preferred when going to school is used in a very general sense, in sentences like "All children have the right to go to school".