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DD is being bullied in Reception

(51 Posts)
gigglersqueak Sun 18-Sep-11 08:59:49

DD has just started reception. She's been fairly quiet every night when I pick her up and been going to bed earlier than she used to (she used to find an excuse to stay up). I put it down to adapting to school and big changes. She's also been under the weather with a high temperature, again I've put it all down to big changes in her life.

This morning she told me she doesn't have any friends at school and she wants to go back to nursery where everyone likes her. I asked her what she meant and she said everytime she tries to play with the other girls they say she can't join them or share toys as she 'doesn't have blonde hair'. Here's the thing, she is mixed race and we have lived in a not very diverse area. As a white mum, I've never experienced racism or feeling different, I'm so upset that she is being made to feel different at such a young age. She's never encountered this before, her friends outside school are diverse.

I asked her if she spoke to teachers and teachers have told girls to play nicely but she is still left out. I've tried to make light of this but I don't want her to be affected by this as usually she is a confident kid.

What do I do? I could talk to teachers but don't want to single her out, can anyone help?

Thanks from a sad concerned mum.

SoupDragon Sun 18-Sep-11 09:03:25

What do you do? You talk to the teacher!

Why are you saying you don't want to do this because you don't want to single her out? She is already being singled out!

It is early days in reception but this need to be stamped out.

DownbytheRiverside Sun 18-Sep-11 09:03:30

Definitely talk to the teacher. She won't be singled out, but the teacher needs to know what is going on so that she can work on different ways of helping them all socialise.
Are all the girls blonde? Is she the only one there who is unhappy and excluded?
Did the children clumping together all come from the same nursery and are huddling together for security in a new place?
Go and talk! smile

RupertTheBear Sun 18-Sep-11 09:04:59

Straight in tomorrow morning to tell the teacher! As a former reception teacher I can assure you that they want to know about this and will be able to nip it in the bud pretty quickly.

spiderpig8 Sun 18-Sep-11 09:09:45

Why is she going to school when she's under the weather and had a high temperature? Big changes in your life don't cause a high temperature.the child is ill!!!
If she hasn't mentioned this before and only with you dragging it out of her, I think it's something and nothing and with being ill probably hasn't been feeling that sociable.Still, probably wise to mention it to the teacher.But I shouldn't worry too much about it and I do think its OTT and alarmist to call it bullying at this stage!

gigglersqueak Sun 18-Sep-11 09:10:57

Thanks, I will talk to teacher but I was worried I would come across as pushy parent. I thought I'd also get fobbed off with it takes ages for kids to settle down and mix together. You read nowadays about everything being too pc and that's what I meant. The village we live in although lovely is very traditional and not welcoming to newcomers (took us a while to be even acknowledged shock).

No kids don't all come from same nursery as spoke to some mums who said they were new like me, most are blonde, and few dark haired/ginger haired but no one else who is mixed race. Husband is upset about it too and thinks we should talk to teacher as he never encounter direct racism so new to him too.

She's just been clingy and tired, now I know why. Feel awful.

DownbytheRiverside Sun 18-Sep-11 09:13:57

You are not being pushy in the slightest, you are flagging up a concern that's all. smile
The majority of our reception children look shattered at the end of the day, and bugs and raised temperatures are very common. It's hard all round.

gigglersqueak Sun 18-Sep-11 09:15:10

Spiderpig, wasn't dragged out of her, she volunteered this info when we were lying in bed this morning.

Temperature manifested on Friday night, will see how she feels tomorrow but am aware don't want to pass on germs to other kids.

Didn't know how else to term it other than bullying, feeling bit sad about it tbh.

SoupDragon Sun 18-Sep-11 09:17:15

You won't come across as pushy, especially as your DD is being excluded for looking different. You could phrase it I such a way that you make it clear you understand it is early days but you are wondering whether there is someway they could help the class bond better and see past appearances.

DS1s reception class (many years ago!) had a Friend of the Week system where the class was paired up with a different child each week for their work partner. Their class bonded exceptionally well and this lasted throughout their primary time.

Stormwater Sun 18-Sep-11 09:17:18

If I were her teacher I'd be quite annoyed if a parent knew this was happening and didn't share with me in order that I could sort it out as soon as possible.

gigglersqueak Sun 18-Sep-11 09:18:32

Thanks for your tips, I'll talk to teachers tomorrow. I'm trying to be upbeat as don't want her to pick up any worry from me.

SoupDragon Sun 18-Sep-11 09:20:45

I agree that, at this point, it is not bullying. However, it needs to be stopped before it develops into bullying.

Can you invite a friend home for tea after school?

bigTillyMint Sun 18-Sep-11 09:26:18

I love that "friend of the week" idea.

Definitely go and talk to the teacher, she will surely want to help. And yes, try to arrange a playdate or two - it's much easier for them to develop friendships on a 1:1

gigglersqueak Sun 18-Sep-11 09:33:33

Was thinking about playdates but with them all feeling exhausted I'll hold off until few weeks in. Plus she has to find someone who plays with her too!

I like that friend of week idea soupdragon, hopefully they'll have activities like that at my school.

Thanks for the advice

spiderpig8 Sun 18-Sep-11 10:19:54

but please don't make this into a racist incident

Limejelly Sun 18-Sep-11 10:40:00

Spiderpig the OP doesn't need to make it into anything. All she needs to do is tell them what her DD said and the school will decide what action to take.

OP if your DD was in my class I would pass what you told me onto to Head teacher. Who would then decide whether or not it was a racist incident and whether the Racism Policy needs to be applied (which it most likely will not).

At this point I would guess that the class teacher will just do lots of talking to children about how they are all different, but still all friends etc. Then see how things develop from there. The Class Teacher will also be able to keep a closer eye on your DD and encourage the children to all play together.

Good luck with everything.

gigglersqueak Sun 18-Sep-11 11:03:39

Thanks again for great advice, I'm not sure school has dealt with this type of thing before (making a big assumption here looking at the school demographics in the playground) so I will talk generally about her feeling left out.

I do not want this to blow up into a race issue as I think all kids single out things that make others different. It just felt awful this morning when she told me. I don't think any mother likes to hear that their child is sad and feeling excluded especially when they're going through big transition to school.

Will see what her teachers suggest.

captainbarnacle Sun 18-Sep-11 11:10:13

My son is just 5. He lives in a 99% white part of the UK. I was horrified when on a recent day out elsewhere he told a black girl 'Go away - I dont like to sit next to black people'!!!!

This isn't learned behaviour - it's his total ignorance. We have since had a few chats about it all (including all people who look different from him) and hopefully that will be the last such incident!

I assume that the girls in your DD's class have also never been in contact with children who look different to them - and I am sure their class teacher can nip it in the bud sharpish.

seeker Sun 18-Sep-11 11:16:28

But do tell the teacher exactly what your child said. I'm sure the children concerned weren't being consciously racist, but the school does neednto do some work on diversity awareness- all the more now your dd is a pupil there.

gigglersqueak Sun 18-Sep-11 11:18:26

Thanks captain, that's what I thought about girls, I'll see what teachers say.

MN is great for helping you calm down and seeing things more clearly and rationallysmile.

RedHotPokers Sun 18-Sep-11 11:29:30

When I went in to observe my dds reception class last yr (all parents were invited on different days) I was shocked by the squabbling and petty arguments between all the little girls. It was all 'you can't play with us' 'only people with flowers on their shoes can be friends' 'you've got short hair so you have to play with short haired people'. I was shocked.

I asked the teacher about the squabbling and she said that they leave them to it to a certain extent whilst encouraging kindliness and importance of thinking of other peoples feelings. They would intervene if a child was getting upset and particularly if they felt a certain child was being targeted iyswim.

I thinks its worth highlighting to the teacher, but would doubt there was any real malice or racism involved.

gigglersqueak Sun 18-Sep-11 11:42:02

Thanks for the reassurance red hot, kids are different and hopefully seeker, the school has some policy on diversity awareness.

As a white mum, I've never encountered this previously. I've never brought up her differences to her, naieve I suppose but its never mattered in the past. I don't want this to be a race issue either, hopefully they will all settle soon and include my dd, I don't want her confidence to be affected as she is a sociable kid. Talking to teachers and future playdates I hope will solve all my worries!

KaFayOLay Sun 18-Sep-11 11:43:34

My dd was in reception last year and was excluded by the few white girls in her class who all went to the same nursery. The Asian girls speak their own language in the playground, so she couldn't really play with them. My dd is white.

She ended up hooking up with the boys, who don't seem to be as bitchy as girls. She's in Yr 1 now and still doesn't have any girl friends but is happy enough to play with the boys.

I did mention to the teacher about the white girls excluding her and she concurred that there was an over bearing girl in the group who wouldn't let her play. She said her policy was to leave them to it and it'd all sort itself out. She said she couldn't force children to get on.

It is pretty sad knowing that your child has a lonely lunchtime. I used to walk past her school at lunch to see if she really was stood alone but she was always running around with somebody.

Thank the Lord for boys I say smile

gigglersqueak Sun 18-Sep-11 11:50:03

Thank heavens indeed KaFay, glad to hear that your dd has friends to play with even if they are boys!

I suspect and am worried teachers will be the same as yours and say that they can't force children to play together. Will have to see when I talk to them.

Blu Sun 18-Sep-11 12:01:24

I m the parent of a mixed race child (though in a v mixed area).

Definitely go and talk to the teacher and do be specific.Don't just say 'left out'. To say exactly what the children have told your dd is not 'a big race issue' it is (at this stage) a hair colour issue! Small children are perfectly capable of making an issue out of hair colour without thinking anything about race. But unless you are specific the teacher cannot deal with it effectively. Also, there is no need for you to be apologetic about bringing the subject up - just be accurate and direct!

DS was once told that he couldn't be a prince (in a game) unless he was 'prince chocolate face'. The children concerned just hadn't thought past the golden haired princes in story books, and little girls often assume the same thing about Princesses in Princess games. It doesn't, at 5, equate to racist bullying. (yet - actually the children who said that to Ds wer older and should have known a lot better - v posh 7 and 8 year olds on a bunting-festooned Sussex campsite).

In addition , all children are exhausted and non-communicative in the early days of school, and the big change does wear them out - that will pass, but of course she will have more energy and confidence if she stays at home to rest when she is poor;y.

Good luck!

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