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Parent- Teacher evening: advice

(27 Posts)
Mosurgia Sat 16-Nov-19 22:42:23

Hi,
My daughter has just moved to a new private school this year (yr1). Academically she is doing very well but everybody else in the class know each other since nursery and despite my daughter is very friendly the others do not seem to show much interest in involving her. The teacher has neither given a buddy nor paired up with anyone, not even the first week of school.
I have asked the teacher and the Headteacher to pair her up with someone but they simply ignored me.
In a week time there is the parent evening and I would like to raise the issue but I don’t know how and whether it’s the right thing to do as I would not want to start with the wrong foot.
Any help/suggestion would be much appreciated.
Thank you!

OP’s posts: |
GetTheGoodLookingGuy Sun 17-Nov-19 07:30:06

I would go at it from the "what can we (as in you and the school) do to help her settle in and make friends" angle, rather than "you didn't pair her up with someone so now she has no friends".

If you go at it from the first angle, I don't see how you could get off on the wrong foot. I'm a TA and if she were in my class, I would happily think about who she might get on with, and encourage them to do things together by pairing them up in class.

BlackSwanGreen Sun 17-Nov-19 07:34:16

Yes, I agree. Tell the teacher that you are pleased with your DD's progress academically but she is still struggling to fit in socially. Ask the teacher if she has any ideas to help with the transition, either at school or for you to do at home? Try to come actress as 'we're a partnership, we're working towards the same thing' rather than 'it's your fault she's feeling like this'.

Also have you tried inviting other children in the class over to play to help your DD build friendships?

stucknoue Sun 17-Nov-19 07:38:20

As much as pairing up may help for the first day, it's not really fair on the other child to be forced to be friends, it's several weeks in now. My dd switched schools in year 1, it's not easy and teachers do not facilitate friendships in my experience, instead perhaps ask her to invite 3 or 4 girls back for a group play date, let it happen organically.

CripsSandwiches Sun 17-Nov-19 08:13:07

I agree with PP, approach from the point of view of 'what can we do to help her integrate'. Don't dictate what exactly the teacher will do but it's fine to expect that they'll do something. You could also ask that the teacher suggests a few kids who she might get on with so you could invite them back for a play.

Mosurgia Sun 17-Nov-19 09:06:08

Thank you All for taking the time to answer, I agree with the approach (“what can we do”) and I did try something similar already.

I asked the teacher if she had any suggestion and she offered to “speak to my daughter”. Not sure what she wanted to say but whatever it was I did not think it could help. GetTheGoodLookingGuy not all the teachers have your attitude I am afraid.

I also agree that you cannot force anyone to be friends but I was more suggesting to encourage them to do things together so they can get to know each other better.

We went to a birthday party and it was like my daughter was not part of the class. She ended up playing with the older sister of one of them - A bit heartbreaking really.
I have tried to invite children over for playdates but that does not seem very easy either. We live a tube ride away from the school and this seems to be challenging to most of them.

I will try again the approach “what can we do, both in the class and at home. Can you suggest few children she might get on well”.
I do not think this teacher will help but it’s worthy a try.
Finally one last question - If none of the above works with the teacher, is it worthy to escalate it to someone else? Probably not but it’s so annoying especially cause this is happening in a private school where expectations are a bit higher.

Thanks again for the help and support.

OP’s posts: |
TwinkleRedMoon Sun 17-Nov-19 09:28:47

Is your dd telling you she is unhappy with the way things are at the moment? What was it like at her last school, did she make friends easily?

I always worry about my ds because he never seems to have friends he does everything with. But I realise now that he is happy like this. He is friendly with a few different groups.

weymouthswanderingmermaid Sun 17-Nov-19 09:30:03

Oh your poor daughter! What information does the school give regarding pastoral care? Forget have a "buddy bench" in the playground? Are there any extra-curricula activities that she could do it to help her get more involved?
I always ask about friends and relationships at parents evening, as I want to know if there are any issues / concerns tar have been noted but aren't necessarily significant enough for my child or the staff to have spoken to me about already. It's a hugely important aspect of school life, and very much the schools role to support your child to integrate.
Good luck OP!

PotteringAlong Sun 17-Nov-19 09:35:10

but it’s so annoying especially cause this is happening in a private school where expectations are a bit higher.

Really?!

But, ignoring that bit, how many children are we talking about? How many are in her class? Can she do after school clubs / extra curricular stuff with them? She was invited to the birthday party so they’re not completely ignoring her

Mosurgia Sun 17-Nov-19 12:48:02

I have not read the pastoral care information, thank you waymouthwonderingmermaid I will check that.
And I agree the school should help her, not to make friends but to integrate.
My daughter complains she feels lonely at school and she often says she misses her friends of the old school.
I will look at the pastoral care information, hopefully there is something that Might help.
Thank you!

OP’s posts: |
RedskyToNight Sun 17-Nov-19 16:56:31

How many children (particularly other girls) are there in her class?
In Year 1, I'd expect the other children to be excited by a new child and rush to look after them, so I'm not sure the teacher not pairing her up would have had much difference.

When you say your daughter feels excluded , do you mean she is actively being blocked from joining in games (say) - which would be bullying. or just that she hasn't made close friends yet (understandable).

Is your daughter actually unhappy about the situation? If she is, and this is a small school with limited friendship base and nothing much has changed by Christmas, I'd be very tempted to move schools tbh.
The people not wanting to come on play dates makes it sound like other parents are unfriendly as well - and I doubt this will get better.

Mosurgia Sun 17-Nov-19 20:33:39

It’s a girls school and there are 19 girls in the class. They don’t block her from joining, but from what I have seen they just seem to ignore her...They do not even respond when she says hi.
I do not believe it’s intentional.
To be honest I blame the teacher who has done absolutely nothing to help her to become part of the class.
I will see how it goes, in the meantime I will try all the approaches suggested in this thread.
Thank you so much to all of you for your support. I will let you know how the parents/teacher evening goes.
Thank you!

OP’s posts: |
FlatheadScrewdriver Sun 17-Nov-19 21:02:33

Hi, we moved to a new girls' school recently with similar sized classes. I have been so impressed with what the school has done to support integration - true friendship forming takes longer, of course. Here's what happened, in case anything gives ideas: a different buddy every day for a week (this was as much helping navigate the building, as giving a friendly face at break and lunch times), different pairing up for various activities so DD got to know a few people better as they were her science partner, or her art partner etc. They have a house system so she's got to know some girls from other years in the same house. There were events for new parents to meet existing parents in the class. They put her into a lunchtime club once a week, so she gets to know a smaller group that way. I've also put her into one after-school club for the same reason. It all takes time, but DD seems happy.

There have been a few birthday parties and those have been useful for gently making connections with other parents. I have been making an effort to go to as many school things as I can fit round work, and offer a hand if they ask for volunteers (without being over-keen or trying to take over!) and I think things will fall into place in time.

Mosurgia Sun 17-Nov-19 21:53:28

Well that’s exactly the kind of things I was expecting from the school. None of the things you mentioned happened, not even close.

OP’s posts: |
Shelbygirl15 Mon 18-Nov-19 11:39:49

It's really hard to think your little one is being left out. I think kids are expected to handle social situations too young these days. We all know 3_5 year olds are awful sharers at times and can be naturally for themselves. My dd is shy and in reception. I don't think she is the sort of child to go up to someone and say hi would you like to play. Luckily she hangs around with a boy she's known all her life alot still. She seems to find someone to play with at break but there's not much close bonding going on yet. I also think teachers should notice someone perhaps abit shy or struggling to make friends and encourage more team work and put 2 or 4 kids together if they see a lonely child. Do they play in year one? Reception is very play orientated and I worry year one is going to be a huge shock to my DD.

I would ask the teacher how is she doing socially and then discuss it from their. Ask th if she has a buddy at lunch etc. Yes you should also mention it if she seems a little bit sad.she is still so little bless her. Xx

BertrandRussell Mon 18-Nov-19 11:43:36

“Probably not but it’s so annoying especially cause this is happening in a private school where expectations are a bit higher.“

I was going to offer some advice based on my experience with dd, but that was at a state school, so obviously you won’t be interested. Good luck.

tava63 Mon 18-Nov-19 11:59:58

I am perhaps reading between the lines but you are coming across as someone who expects others to do the running. Your child is going through a transition, likely imposed on her by you, for whatever good reason, as you have moved her to a school away from her friends. Have you offered to collect the children from school to bring to your home? Have you made an effort to make contact with any of the parents? Perhaps the school does not have any systems in place - very unusual - but if that is really the case you as the adult and parent need to decide if you are willing to put in more work in to make the decision you made for your child easier for her. For what it is worth when my dd1 moved school offering to help regularly with the tuck shop at Saturday sports events proved to be a brilliant way to meet parents including those in her class. This then I am sure helped them be comfortable to agreeing to playdates and sleepovers.

Mosurgia Mon 18-Nov-19 12:16:57

BertrandRussell you must have misread the post. It was not about your personal opinion/assumptions. Good luck to you!

OP’s posts: |
BertrandRussell Mon 18-Nov-19 12:20:59

Nope. I did not misread. You may have expressed yourself badly.

RiddleMeThis2018 Mon 18-Nov-19 12:38:14

My daughter was in a similar situation, exacerbated by it being a foreign language environment, and a very learning-based school ethos, where as long as no-one is bleeding, the teachers don’t seem to intervene with the social aspects of school life. I realised the school weren’t going to help (and maybe yours won’t either) so I did the following, which may help you:
- put her in for loads of extra curricular activities- gym, choir, ballet, swimming etc - some school-based and some community-based. She saw school children outside school, and grew her confidence.
- as many play dates as I could stomach, making sure these actually helped the parents. I collect the children from school myself. I also ferry a couple of kids to the above activities. All good socialising.
- after-school club. This may seem counterintuitive, but what really helped was MORE time at school! In an unregimented environment, where they can choose what to do, my girl has made friends with children who like what she likes. After-school club was the thing that made her love school- I wish i’d done it sooner.

Good luck. It’s heartbreaking when your children are excluded, I really feel for you.

RedskyToNight Mon 18-Nov-19 13:20:21

OP you wrote "it’s so annoying especially cause this is happening in a private school where expectations are a bit higher."

If you mean something other than "state schools have lower behaviour expectations" then perhaps you should clarify?

BlackSwanGreen Mon 18-Nov-19 13:25:59

I think the OP meant that parents have higher expectations of the teachers at private school (as they generally have smaller classes to deal with, so more time for this kind of thing). No one mentioned behaviour did they?

Mosurgia Mon 18-Nov-19 13:41:56

That’s exactly what I meant BlackSwanGreen. Thank you.

OP’s posts: |
InACheeseAndPickle Mon 18-Nov-19 17:12:47

Oh come on. My kids go State but OP clearly just meant that she was paying extra for DC's school and clearly is doing so in the hope that her DC will get more attention/high standards. (Otherwise why on earth would she pay extra for the same standards!).

Mosurgia Mon 18-Nov-19 20:55:12

Thank you InACheeseAndPickle.
I was just referring to the fact that with all the money I pay the least they can do is try and facilitate her integration.

Thank you All for taking the time to help with your suggestions. I know how busy we all are and really appreciate your support.

OP’s posts: |

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