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comments from keyworker at my DD parents evening are playing on my mind....

(36 Posts)
Bigmouthstrikesagain Fri 27-Nov-09 23:02:11

Dd is 3 1/2 and very happy at pre-school she skips merrily in (she does 2 days and a morning session each week) - knows all the staff and childrens names (more than I do!), and I see her as a happy confident little girl.

She plays mainly independantly though she enjoys squabbling with her older brother! Is obsessed with dressing up as a princess and apart from a few issues with toilet training is a normal little girl afaik.

Her key worker (whom I confess I haven't warmed to but dd seems to like her) - brought up her concerns about dd 'not having any particular friends' and tending to play in parallel rather than involving others in her games. I was a little surprised and asked whether this was actually a problem at 3? she back tracked a little and said no, but continued to ask me if I wanted her to monitor this issue for me?

I keep thinking about it now and obsessing about her tone of voice and 'professional concerned' face (looked patronising or pitying to me but there you go), dd is very friendly and speaks to everyone - asking them their name where they live etc. etc. she always gravitates towards people and has an excellent memory for names and even talks about children in particular being her best friends from pre-school so I am confused. Is there a problem if she prefers her own imaginary play to bringing others in?

Should I just take a chill pill? I suspect I am over analysing.

EccentricaGallumbits Fri 27-Nov-09 23:06:07

chill grin like you said she is 3. she's happy at pre-school.
DD1 was the same but i think it was mostly because her imagination made her live in some fantasy princess land most of the time. there wasn't room for normal people in it. sounds like your DD is a friendly little soul who does know all about the other people she meets.

cathcat Fri 27-Nov-09 23:06:30

Yes, chill! It is perfectly normal and your DD sounds lovely. nothing to worry about I think.

heartofgold Fri 27-Nov-09 23:08:53

parallel play is totally normal at this age afaik, no stress

edam Fri 27-Nov-09 23:11:13

I think the key worker has been on a training course and is a little over-enthusiastic.

Your dd sounds lovely and absolutely normal, key worker sounds as if she still has lots to learn about child development.

dearprudence Fri 27-Nov-09 23:16:09

Parallel play is the norm at this age. Keyworker is a twit.

Bigmouthstrikesagain Fri 27-Nov-09 23:21:50

Thank you all - very reassuring smile

I do think she is lovely (while at the same time the most stubborn and infuriating girl but that is down to her inheriting my less desirable character traits grin) but I am totally biased.

I do think the ky worker is misplaced with her 'concerns' so I will unclench, or at least try too.

thanks again for replying as it is so late.

MaggieBelle Fri 27-Nov-09 23:25:00

Yeah,,, if she's trying to plant a little 'autie' seed in your mind, I'd relax, my son is nearly four and he's mildly on the spectrum, MILDLY and yet he never really goes out of his way to ask question of virtual strangers. That sounds extrovert to me!!

MaggieBelle Fri 27-Nov-09 23:26:21

I mean your dd sounds extrovert.

Bigmouthstrikesagain Sat 28-Nov-09 09:28:47

Thank you Maggie - that is the implication that has been going through my mind and there are several people in my family on the 'spectrum' so I am already concious of the possibilty.

The key worker isn't aware of that but I think that dd1 is very like I was as a little girl - i spoke to everyone, was very friendly etc. spent mist of my time in books/ imaginary worlds - But didn't have particular friends til I was older.

purepurple Sat 28-Nov-09 09:38:11

Bigmouth, I think the keyworker is a little out of her depth.
Parallel play is perfectly normal at this age. I wouldn't consider it an issue or think I had to keep an eye on it, not if your DD is developing well in every other area.
Is the key worker quite young? Maybe she is not experienced at parents evenings.
As a nursery nurse myself, I can understand that some nursery nurses found them very hard to do. It is an area that we receive no training on, we just get thrown in at the deep end. Maybe she just said it because she couldn't think of anything else to say?
Practice at the moment is very much geared to 'next steps'. It might be that she is just not that confident in her job and is looking for problems where there aren't any.

Bigmouthstrikesagain Sat 28-Nov-09 09:58:16

I think that sounds like a reasonable explanation pure, if I had no family history of Autism/ aspergers I would have dismissed the comment more easily. Still can't blame the key worker for that.

MaggieBelle Sat 28-Nov-09 13:23:37

My dc1 (not on the spectrum at all) had a very clear awareness of the concept of friendship at 3 and a half. She could list off her friends, ask after them etc..
But as soon as they got together, they fought!!!

So in a way, it was just a word at that point. Just labelling. "Friends" = the children you see a lot of.

My son never thinks about the idea of friendship, doesn't think about WHO his friends are, isn't bothered if he has none, isn't aware he has none!! but when he gets together with other children his age, he is only marginally less sociable.. It's still mostly playing alongside eachother with plenty of fights over toys!!

purepurple Sat 28-Nov-09 13:50:46

Also, I see from your OP, Bigmouth, that your daughter does a couple of sessions.
I know from experience that some children find it hard to 'break into' the friendship groups. different children do different days and that makes some children seem not part of the group.
I would turn it around on the key worker and ask her what steps she intends to take to encourage your DD to move on from parallel play.
e.g. small group play
games with rules
circle time stories and games
cooking activities that require working together (or any activity for that matter)
A good nursery nurse will be able to include all children and work on their confidence and encourage them to play together. In fact, it's what we do every day, all day!

Bigmouthstrikesagain Wed 28-Apr-10 16:44:52

I have now had another report on dd's progress as pre-school (she turned 4 a couple of weeks ago). The key worker is still raising the issue of dd paralell playing 'often she is so involved in her own world of play that she does not actively participate in [the other childrens] play'

She is very strong willed and extremely confident she talks constantly and to anyone who will listen, always convinced that they will be fascinated by her conversationsmile. I do see her play with other children (her siblings and cousins) as well as on her own so I am not sure if I should be concerned about the Key workers observations or not.

Is their anyone (a pre school employee for eg)that can put my mind at rest over this - I don't want to raise it with them as a problem unless it is one iyswim?

Pronoia Wed 28-Apr-10 16:54:51

I think your daughter is perfectly normal, but I must destroy this idea that autistic children won't speak to strangers. Ds1 is autistic and will speak to ANYONE, whether they are listening or not, and once spent a whole month surveying passers by on the width fitting of their shoes (he was 5)

nickschick Wed 28-Apr-10 17:01:48

Preallel play is common at any age and any stage just because a child has social skills doesnt mean they always want to use them,some children like to play alone just as some children like to 'pal up'.

In a nursery setting with lots of 'group activities' children are more encouraged to be together to share resources or just because of interest.

There are no rights or wrongs to play and even if your dd was only parallel playing you cannot give her skills to suddenly lurch into 'joining in' play -its a skill developed in time.

I think the keyworker has done her 'reports' using some sort of tick sheet and when shes mentioned this to you its all gone up in the air.

Please dont worry.

SlartyBartFast Wed 28-Apr-10 17:10:31

i remember dd's keyworker <<exasperated sigh>>

going on about how she didnt like to do things that made her hands get dirty, finger painting, at 2 and a half shock

i think she had been on a course and ignored her, pointing out, oh her sister was like that too.

Bigmouthstrikesagain Wed 28-Apr-10 17:16:18

Pro - I agree with your comments about autistic people as there are several of my family and friends on the 'spectrum' and they vary from extremely chatty to extremely shy - probably partly why these comments are being over analysed by me ...

purepurple Wed 28-Apr-10 17:20:51

Here are extracts from the Early Years Foundation Stage, with the approx age


30-50 months
'Form friendships with other

Children are not expected to achieve the Early Learning Goal of:-

'Form good relationships with
adults and peers' until the end of their reception year


30-50 months
'Enjoy imaginative and role-play with peers'


40-60 months
'Play alongside other children
who are engaged in the same

So, from what you have written, she does sound within developmental norms.
But, if the keyworker does have any concerns she really should be raising them in a professional way and not expecting you to be reading between the lines.

Bigmouthstrikesagain Wed 28-Apr-10 17:31:02

Thank you for that extract v illuminating - I think my issue is precisely that this key worker keeps mentioning the paralell playing thing implying a 'problem' without ever saying it outright!

Whelk Wed 28-Apr-10 20:58:19

Can you talk again to the keyworker or preferably another member of staff reasonably casually. I would think it may put your mind at rest,

From what you say your dd sounds perfectly normal to me.

jonicomelately Wed 28-Apr-10 21:04:16

I agree that it sounds perfectly normal.

How many children are there at the playgroup? Perhaps she simply hasn't clicked with any of the other children. This does happen.

Bigmouthstrikesagain Thu 29-Apr-10 12:12:39

Ach well it is parents eve next week so I can clarify what they mean then (again) I suppose - and whether the implication is that dd is not reaching her 'target' for socialising/ cooperative play or whatever.

Bigmouthstrikesagain Thu 29-Apr-10 12:16:00

joni it is a smallish but v poular preschool (attached to my son's primary. She has a couple of children she mentions all the time but friendships at this age group are fickle anyway and can be very one sided.

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